When Art Reidel thinks of MIT, scientific and political leaders from the past century spring to mind. “The majority of MIT students will find themselves in a leadership position after graduating—not only as scientists and engineers, but in some cases as leaders on the world stage,” he says. For that reason, he and his spouse, Sandy, support MIT student programs that both directly and indirectly instill the values and principles that are hallmarks of good leadership. “Through our giving,” Art says, “we’d like to further develop the programs that prepare students to apply their science and engineering training to provide maximum benefit to the world.”
Investing with confidence.
The couple’s first major gift to the Institute was a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT), which provides income to a donor or other beneficiaries while they are living and then goes to a designated cause at MIT—leadership programs, in their case. “Our expectations were certainly positive in 2008 when we established the CRUT,” Art says, “but in the years since, the experience has exceeded our expectations.”
Now that the Reidels are retired, Art as a CEO, founder, and investor primarily in the wireless communications and pharmaceutical software spaces and Sandy as an orthopedic surgeon, they appreciate the income from their CRUT as well as the benefits of having added to it with gifts of securities. “By adding to the CRUT in this way, we effectively make the contribution for a fraction of the cost it would be if we were contributing cash,” Art explains. “We also avoid having to pay capital gains taxes on those assets and receive a substantially higher income than we could have if we had sold those securities ourselves. Each donor’s situation will be different, but the folks at the MIT Office of Gift Planning are great at helping anyone navigate it.”
“A planned gift is a perfect way to support the long-term excellence of MIT.”
Having spent years as an investment professional, Art is confident in the MIT Investment Management Company’s handling of their gift. “We could not think of a safer or more beneficial place to have those retirement funds,” he says. “It’s amazing to think about how planned gifts have fueled the endowment for over a century. A planned gift is a perfect way to support the long-term excellence of MIT.”
Working together across disciplines.
Sandy and Art’s MIT support has included contributing their professional expertise to the MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) as it was taking shape in 2012 and ultimately funding a maker lab there. Sandy recalls meeting with students to describe simple devices she had been thinking about that could improve health outcomes during surgical procedures, and the thrill of how quickly they grasped her ideas and began prototyping. Both Art and Sandy also support humanities education at MIT and they are happy to see how diverse topics are built into the curriculum. “Cross-fertilization between disciplines, especially science and the humanities, is something that has to be done,” Sandy says, noting the importance of communication and empathy in the medical field in particular. “Any attempt to merge these aspects is very important, as is emphasizing leadership roles, and MIT recognizes that.”
The couple also names the personal connections they have made with students, faculty, and MIT staff as drivers of their belief in the Institute. “MIT is an incredible collection of wonderful individuals who have welcomed our involvement without ego,” Art says. “We support MIT because we are confident it is a way to maximize the positive impact that we have on the world.”