Personal Giving Stories

Dear fellow alumni and friends,

zielinski.jpgMy years at the U of I have always been something very special. The friendships, experience and education have all been a big influence in my life. When the opportunity came for me to begin developing a legacy, the deferred gift annuity (DGA) provided the perfect mechanism.

Confronted with an approaching stock option expiration date, the idea of paying a large sum to the government in the form of capital-gain taxation didn’t sit well with me. In an issue of the Alumni News, I saw an ad from the U of I Foundation on charitable gift annuities. I then contacted the U of I Foundation to see what charitable options existed. That’s when I learned about the DGA. Using this strategy I was able to significantly reduce the taxes on my buyout gains and enhance my retirement planning with guaranteed income.

It was the perfect plan for me, primarily because I was able to get immediate tax benefits, but defer the start of my income until closer to retirement. Since I intended to keep working, the last thing I needed was more income resulting in more taxes. At the same time the stock options made the tax benefits extremely valuable, so the whole plan fit perfectly. I was 55 when I established the DGA and payments will begin when I reach 61. As a result of the six-year deferral period, my guaranteed rate of lifetime income was locked in at 7.5 percent, which was very compelling.

In conclusion, not only did I gain significant financial benefits from my gift, but I was also able to contribute to the future of the University that had given so much to me in the past. There are some great ideas in this newsletter; and my hope is that you too will consider your legacy and what you might do to help our great university. Go ILLINI!

—Ed Zielinski ’74

When Ed Zielinski entered the University of Illinois in the early 1970s, he chose to enroll in the nationally recognized and prestigious College of Engineering. As a student in mechanical and industrial engineering, he was fortunate to study under such illustrious and learned professors as Jack Broghammer, Richard DeVor and Judith Liebman.

In addition to being educated at a top engineering school, the U of I also provided a unique leadership experience when he was elected president of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. “Actually no one else cared enough to run,” Zielinski recalls.

In retrospect, he realizes that this was the ideal turn-around situation, because the organization had intrinsic value as a highly respected national honor society, and engineering students who qualified eagerly accepted the honor. Zielinski spent an entire year recruiting a team of faculty advisors and holding membership events. His efforts culminated with an event on campus involving the national secretary of Tau Beta Pi. This laid the critical groundwork for future growth and success of this prestigious engineering honor society at the U of I.

Upon graduation, Zielinski began his career as an industrial engineer and earned an MBA at night. “My experiences at the U of I continue to influence my career in corporate restructuring in very positive ways,” he says. “Business restructuring involves building on the intrinsic value of an organization and then instilling a culture of excellence and developing processes to succeed,” says Zielinski. “My experience as a young man with Tau Beta Pi at the U of I was extremely valuable and as it turns out was a precursor to my career path,” he concludes.

Ed Zielinski is married to Lynne (29 years), and they have three daughters, two of whom were married this year. The couple lives in Texas, where he is an active member of the Dallas Illini Club. He has run a few marathons and enjoys skiing, hiking, biking and, of course, everything Illini!


The U of I Foundation gift planning staff is pleased to answer your questions and offer assistance at any time. Please contact the Foundation to learn more.



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