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Investing in the Lives of People

Steve Lukasik

Steve Lukasik '51

"The point in life is to do good and to leave the place better than when you showed up," says Steve Lukasik '51. A well-educated and successful scientist, Steve is definitely fulfilling his philosophy for a successful life. As a result of his commitment to a better future, Rensselaer students will benefit from his generosity for years to come through the Stephen J. Lukasik '51 Scholarship.

A native of Staten Island, Steve was always drawn to the field of science. With the assistance of a full-tuition scholarship from the RPI Alumni Association, Steve earned a bachelor's degree in physics from RPI. He went on to receive a doctorate in physics from MIT and then to a rewarding career that ran the gamut from technical work to managerial positions in industry, government, and academic settings.

Throughout the years, Steve has never forgotten the institutions that made him the man he is today, starting with RPI. "What RPI did was take a relatively clean slate of a mind and shape it," says Steve. He has come to believe that "the whole essence of society is an intergenerational transfer—of knowledge … of values … and of assets." That's why Steve is giving back to RPI as a means of saying thanks. It's also his way of doing his part today to make the world a better place tomorrow.

While it's important to make sure the buildings and institutions remain intact for the future, "you have to make sure the people are able to go there." Steve believes the most important investment he can make is in the lives of future young people through need-based scholarships. Therefore, he and his wife, Ginny, have designated funds from his IRA to go to RPI upon their deaths to fund the Stephen J. Lukasik '51 Scholarship.

"Some people like to have their name on a building, but buildings have a finite life," Steve remarks. He would rather see his name live on through his scholarship recipients each year. "This has a more satisfying way of propagating a name."

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 110 8th St., Troy, NY 12180-3590, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Rensselaer or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

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Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

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You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Rensselaer as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Rensselaer as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Rensselaer where you agree to make a gift to Rensselaer and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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