Category: Gift Planning

Joe and Jane Warren: The Retirement Unitrust

Joe and Jane Warren
Joe and Jane Warren

Joe Warren remembers Professor Bredekamp’s class as if it were yesterday, but that’s to be expected, he says. “Anybody who had Bredekamp remembers.” The chemical engineering professor was lord of the Unit Operations Lab, where seniors routinely worked from dawn till midnight.

“He taught us the practical side of chemical engineering,” Joe says. “If we could satisfy Bredekamp, we could satisfy any boss.”

Joe began to apply those lessons immediately upon graduation, when he went to work at 3M. He rose through the ranks, eventually serving as vice president responsible for the Imaging Systems Group.

Now retired, Joe and his wife, Jane, are giving to Tech annually and also through a charitable remainder trust. “It’s a straightforward and easy way to make a gift,” Joe says. “I think some part of everyone’s estate should go to a good cause. Why give it to the government? You receive income from the trust and get a tax advantage as well. It makes a lot of economic sense.”

Joe says they donate to Michigan Tech in part because the University did so much for him. “And I recognize that the state doesn’t fund universities at near the level as when I went to school.

“The other underlying reason is that, from my years at 3M, I’m confident that Tech graduates will do a good job. Tech has always been a special place. It produces grads who are immediately productive. Our country needs outstanding college grads who are practical and able to solve problems.”

He proudly adds that one of their grandsons currently attends Michigan Tech.

*Please note: Since your unitrust benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.

Dr. Damoder “Pati” and Soumitri Reddy: An IRA Bequest to Save Taxes

Dr. Damoder "Pati" and Soumitri Reddy
Dr. Damoder “Pati” and Soumitri Reddy

Damoder “Pati” Reddy understands better than most the value of education. It was education, made possible by his family’s sacrifices and his own hard work, that took him from a poor village in India to a successful career in California. He also credits his wife, Soumitri, for supporting him.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in India, Pati came to Michigan Tech. “My father wasn’t rich; he had to scrape and borrow for me to come here,” he says. Patti received an MS in Civil Engineering in 1962 and then a PhD from Northwestern University. He returned to Tech to teach until 1969, when he moved to the Los Angeles area to work for Agbabian Associates, a firm that designed structures to withstand earthquakes and nuclear blasts.

Pati scaled back to part-time work in 1986 to manage their investments and in 1990 retired completely. He has structured some of their retirement assets, including an IRA, to benefit Michigan Tech. He says, “An IRA is a smart way to help Tech since it’s such a highly taxed asset if given to heirs.”

He has also made Tech the sole beneficiary of a whole life insurance policy. And he has two other policies designated primarily for their heirs. Should there be a claim, however, a portion would support two endowed funds established in his and Soumitri’s name: a fellowship and a scholarship benefiting students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

In addition, the Reddy family makes annual gifts to provide current scholarships and fellowships and to build their endowments.

“I am very fortunate to have gone to Michigan Tech; it gave me a leg up,” says Reddy. “All I have accomplished is due in part to Michigan Tech, so I feel that I have to give back as much as possible.”

Learn more about how to give with an IRA rollover.

Edwin “Ned” Johnson: Deferred Gift Annuity–Helping Family and Michigan Tech

Johnson - Deferred Gift Annuity - Helping Family and Michigan Tech
Edwin “Ned” Johnson

Edwin “Ned” Johnson “wants to stay close to what’s worthwhile,” and that includes his family, friends, and his alma mater.

Ned’s college education was sidetracked by World War II and a stint as a POW. He came back to Michigan Tech on the GI Bill, earning his bachelor’s degree in metallurgical and materials engineering in 1947. Currently, the retired president of Cleveland-Cliffs (now Cliffs Natural Resources) lives in Florida but summers in the Upper Peninsula, visiting family, Tech, and “getting together with the old Cliffs gang once a month in Ishpeming.”

Along with his many years of annual giving, he supports Michigan Tech through deferred charitable gift annuities. He also stays connected to Tech through the University’s estate planning seminars and alumni events.

“I do what I can,” Ned says. “I can’t say enough about Tech. You get a great education at a reasonable cost, compared to many other schools. And, with the gift annuities, I can accomplish two of my goals, helping my kids during their retirement years and supporting the University.”

Talking to a group of Tech students some years ago, he recalled telling them that he “went to Tech BC: before computers, before calculators, before coeds.” Johnson appreciates the new Michigan Tech, too, and likes the direction the University is taking.

“They’ve added so many more advanced programs,” he says. “And there are a lot of good people up there.”

Hence Ned’s steadfast support over the years, including contributions to an endowed scholarship fund in his and his late wife Lois’s name, Huskies athletics, and an American Institute of Mining Education scholarship.

“I’m thankful for my Tech education,” he says. “And I’m glad I can give something back.”

*Please note: Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.

Bob and Ruth Nara: Current Gifts

Editor’s Note: Since this article was written, Bob Nara passed away in 2015 but his legacy continues at Michigan Tech.

Bob and Ruth Nara
Bob and Ruth Nara

If Bob and Ruth Nara were to craft a mission statement, it would read, “Leave the world a better place.” Residents of Bootjack, in Lake Linden, Michigan, the Naras practice what they call catalyst philanthropy, or gifts that inspire other gifts. One of their well-known projects is the Nara Nature Park in Houghton, where visitors enjoy boardwalks around the Pilgrim River, trails up through the woods, and bridges over creeks.

“After a lifetime of paying taxes, we devised a concept that we, in effect, tax the government to fund our hobbies,” Bob says. “We donated a valuable piece of real estate to the City of Houghton for parks and recreation purposes.”

Then, they helped get grants to fund skiing and hiking trails as well as a chalet on the property. They provided a cash gift to the University to expand the Tech Trails to the park, creating a fifty-mile network of trails for year-round use.

The Naras support Michigan Tech in other ways. They made a gift-in-kind that helps to document the region’s past: Bob’s grandfather was a well-known local photographer, and the family has donated many of his images to the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Bob and Ruth then funded scanning equipment so the archives can make its images available via the Web. They also are donating their proceeds from the sale of a book of J. W. Nara’s photos to the Tech archives.

In addition, they initiated semiannual luncheons at which Michigan Tech’s president updates local community leaders on the University’s progress and plans. If unable to line up a sponsor for the luncheon, they have paid the cost themselves.

To the Naras, paying it forward is a way of life.

“Leave a legacy that will keep on living and keep on giving,” Bob says. “How can you beat a hobby like that?”

Dave and Joy McBride: Deferred Gift Annuity–A Conservative Way to Give

McBride - Deferred Gift Annuity - A Conservative Way to Give
Dave and Joy McBride

Dave McBride recognized instantly that Michigan Tech would be a good fit. “When I went to Tech, I knew right off the bat it was the place for me,” he remembers.

McBride aimed to own his own construction company and majored in business administration. That also turned out to be a good fit. After graduating in 1982, he started up McBride Construction in Petoskey and has been in business ever since.

“My business education gives me a huge advantage,” he says. “Tech gave me the tools I needed to succeed. I got a tremendous value for my education dollar, and now I want others to have that opportunity.”

Dave and his wife, Joy, became annual donors just two years after he graduated. While still in their forties, the McBrides established two deferred-payment charitable gift annuities. “We wanted to make gifts that would significantly benefit Michigan Tech and at the same time have the flexibility to receive income from them,” says Dave. “It was a conservative way for us to make substantial gifts.”

Some donations were appreciated securities. “It’s an excellent way to give,” he says.

“I would highly recommend it.”

He credits Tech’s Advancement staff for opening their eyes to the benefits of giving. “Tech held an estate planning seminar that was hugely beneficial,” he said. “We were able to develop an estate plan in mid-career.”

The McBrides have enjoyed the emotional rewards of giving. “The business was successful, and we just felt it was the right time to support things that were important to us.”

“I’m very blessed to have found Michigan Tech and gone to school there,” Dave says. “It’s been a wonderful foundation for my life.”

*Please note: Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.

Ed Frayer: Charitable Gift Annuity–Peace of Mind

Ed Frayer

As a former dean of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Ed Frayer wants to provide benefits to education long into the future. With endowed scholarships, he is doing just that.

When Ed retired from Tech, his financial advisor suggested purchasing a pension, but he didn’t want to draw down his principal, choosing instead to “live on less than the income from it” if he could.

“I did set up a deferred annuity with Michigan Tech to begin with,” he says, “to provide some steady retirement income during the ups and downs of equity investment returns and to later help forestry students. I’d given previously to the forestry building addition.”

As Ed continued his estate planning, he substantially increased his commitment to Tech with a trust bequest. He likes the fact that he can use the funds during his lifetime if necessary and is happy knowing that the remaining trust assets someday will significantly benefit Tech’s students.

There have been bumps along the way. His TIAA-CREF annuity wasn’t paying out as well as it used to, his stocks weren’t doing well (“like everybody else’s”), and some real estate investments near his home base in Lady Lake, Florida, have also faltered.

A tornado in February of 2003 came within a half mile of our house, too,” he says, appreciating the good fortune of the close call.

Overall, he demonstrates his commitment to education by teaching algebra and statistics at Central Florida Community College and also teaching seashell identification in his Florida living community.

And, of course, he supports education in his contributions to Michigan Tech. “I want to provide educational support that will last over time,” Ed says. “I know the students will use it and appreciate it.”

*Please note: Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.

Ken Larm: Charitable Gift Annuity–Fixed Income for Retirement

Larm - Charitable Gift Annuity - Fixed Income for Retirement
Ken Larm

Ken Larm, a civil engineering graduate and veteran of the Korean War, retired as a cost estimator and process engineer for the Crown Group Inc., Miller Metal Products Division, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A long-standing annual supporter of Tech, Ken’s reason for helping Tech is clear. “It’s important for the United States to stay in step with the world today regarding education,” he says. “Our country’s need for highly educated people keeps increasing, and we need to remain at the leading edge.”

Ken decided to supplement his annual Michigan Tech support with planned gifts, beginning with a charitable gift annuity in 2001. Since then, he also has included a bequest for Tech in his trust and has funded a second gift annuity with the Michigan Tech Fund using “good, old-fashioned” savings bonds. His giving has focused on biological sciences, civil and environmental engineering, and biomedical engineering.

Ken’s support of Tech meshes with his concern for K-12 school districts, especially those in Michigan. “A lot of districts are not up to their potential, and it will take a lot of effort to get them back on track,” he says. “Tech can help, not only through outreach but also by providing top-quality teachers with a solid foundation in math and the sciences.”

He sees the charitable gift annuities that he has funded as a “very easy and practical way to provide this support,” taking into consideration the tax benefits and the lifelong income stream they provide.

*Please note: Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.

John and Joan Calder: Charitable Remainder Trust–A Tax-Free Sale

John and Joan Calder

Years ago, John Calder set an optimistic goal for himself. “I wanted to give Tech $1 million,” he says. “When I decided to do that, it seemed like an insurmountable mountain.” Now he is scaling the peak.

John earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1967 and an MS in Business Administration in 1976, both from Tech. Now CEO of Cincinnati Controls, he has a talent for buying struggling businesses and turning them around. So, when the time came to sell one, he was faced with paying capital gains on $300,000. “I wanted to ensure that my wife, Joan, would be taken care of if something happened to me,” he says. “At the same time, I wanted to help Michigan Tech.”

The solution was a charitable remainder unitrust, or CRUT, which allows the Calders to avoid capital gains taxes. “It will give Joan funding to live on, and when we are both gone, the principal goes to Michigan Tech,” says John. They also give through a universal life insurance policy and are longtime annual supporters.

Along with supporting other University programs, they have established the Calder Systems and Controls Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, which provides hands-on training in electrical controls. John credits that kind of practical preparation for launching his career and enabling their generosity. “When I graduated from Tech,” he says, “I could walk out onto the factory floor with a screwdriver and an oscilloscope and make things work.”

Now, they are looking at expanding their philanthropy by endowing an assistant or associate professorship for $500,000. “We’d like to support new faculty members who are just starting out,” he says. With this new gift, the Calders will be underwriting research and undergraduate education at Tech, two missions John sees as intertwined. “I view research as an addition to undergraduate education,” he says. “We need both.”

*Please note: Since your unitrust benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.

Lentz Family: Bequest Through a Living Trust

Mark and Connie Lentz’s decision to support Michigan Tech actually began with Mark’s father, Dean, Class of ’53.

“I knew I wanted to go to an engineering school,” Mark recalls, “and after looking at three Wisconsin schools, my dad asked, ‘Did you ever consider Michigan Tech?'” Although Dean never pushed his alma mater on his son, he did refer to it fondly and often. Dean and his wife, Shirley, married between Dean’s junior and senior years at Tech. While Dean finished his electrical engineering degree, they survived in the old, cold Quonset huts for married students.
Mark says that his father was passionate about giving, and often said, “Always support and give back to your family, your community, and your profession.” Giving back to Michigan Tech was a way of giving back to his profession. After Dean passed away, Shirley continued his tradition of giving to Tech. She is supporting the Class of 1953 Scholarship Fund with a bequest “in accordance with my father’s desire to give back to the University,” Mark says.

Mark, a civil engineering graduate, and his wife, Connie, have followed suit with a living trust bequest to create endowments for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Tech’s precollege outreach programs. “We worked hard for our money, and we want to make a difference,” Mark says. “Fifty percent of our estate will go to Tech because we want to support future generations of Tech students.” The decision to look at trusts also had to do with his stage in life. “I’ve been with the City of Fond du Lac for twenty-nine years,” he says, “advancing to the position of public works director. It was time I started looking into estate planning, now that I am closer to retirement.”

Mark credits the Tech Advancement staff with helping them make their decision, so they can make a difference in people’s lives.

Learn more about how you can make a gift plan.

John and Phyllis Seaman, Honoring a Family Legacy

John and Phyllis Seaman, Honoring a Family Legacy
John and Phyllis Seaman

When you hear A.E. Seaman, you might think of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum. But for John Seaman, A.E. was grandpa. And honoring his late grandfather, founder of the museum, is why John (Jack) and his wife Phyllis support the museum in a big way.

Fondly known as “Prof”, A.E. was a true gentlemen with a bubbling sense of humor. “He was quite the kidder! Growing up in Houghton, my sister and I used to hang out in the museum [at the time located in Hotchkiss Hall] and help him,” Jack recalled.

Geology and Michigan Tech are traditions in the Seaman family. Both A.E. and Jack’s father, Wyllys, were Michigan Tech alumni and faculty. “My father was a student of my grandfather’s and actually got his master’s degree before my grandfather,’ Jack chuckled. A.E. Seaman chaired the Department of Geology and Mineralogy and founded the mineral museum in 1902. He served as museum curator until his death in 1937. Wyllys Seaman served as curator from 1943-1948 and many other Seaman family members went on to graduate from Michigan Tech. For Jack and Phyllis, it’s important to foster this family legacy.

Jack’s career went into a different direction. He attended Michigan Tech long enough to spur a career in tool and die making. Jack went on to work with skilled German machinists, specializing in toolmaking. His career took him to the West Coast, where he met Phyllis. Phyllis, too, enjoyed a productive career; first with Eastman Kodak and later in banking.

In the early 1970s, Jack and Phyllis made their first contribution to Michigan Tech with a gift of stock. With Phyllis’s enthusiasm, the Seamans continue to support the museum through a combination of annual and planned gifts.

Nationally and internationally recognized, the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum is the largest public exhibit of minerals from the Great Lakes region and is the official mineral museum of Michigan. Exhibits change and improve continually, as the museum strives to educate the public about minerals and their relevance to society. And just like A.E., the museum preserves mineral heritage for future generations.

Just last year, Phyllis and Jack enhanced the museum’s footprint, providing for a garden to be enjoyed by the campus and local community. Jack calls it “Phyllis’s Garden,” paying homage to his wife’s avid green thumb. He traveled from their home in California to Houghton for the garden’s dedication ceremony.

Most recently, Jack and Phyllis worked with Karla Aho, Director of Gift Planning at Michigan Tech, to establish a charitable gift annuity and a substantial endowment to support the museum.

Jack, 96, and Phyllis, 88, have been ballroom dancing partners since they met on the dance floor over 50 years ago. Today, Jack makes time for photography, browsing on his iPad mini, and playing the organ. Phyllis enjoys working in her garden back home and is glad “her” Michigan Tech garden is in full bloom. “I’m in total agreement with our support of the museum. At this age, I enjoy watching other people do the work!” Phyllis said, smiling.

The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum—a place where Jack once ruffled through his grandpa’s paperwork—has a solid funding base for its future, thanks to Jack and Phyllis Seaman.