The Joy of Planned Giving: Ron Alberts and Rita Schneider

Ron Alberts and Rita Schneider
Alberts and Schneider
Ron Alberts and Rita Schneider spent some of the best years of their married life together at HDS. Ron started his MDiv, then became a fixture in the Registrar’s Office where he helped calm the fears of many a new student. Rita was a pillar of the School’s Summer Language Program, where she taught an intensive schedule of both Spanish and French.

“We loved the School,” Schneider says. “My students were a joy. Ron saw his work in the Registrar’s Office as a ministry.”

When the two retired some years ago, they wanted to give back to the School they loved. A planned gift enabled them to have a significant impact on HDS and its mission while providing them with an annual income for life.

“In terms of sustaining our lives, it’s beautiful,” Schneider says. “Our gifts have brought us security, but also capital that will grow and keep sustaining the Divinity School.”

Ron and Rita established a series of charitable remainder trusts. The assets are professionally managed free of charge and generate income each quarter for as long as the donors live. They also benefit from a tax deduction and savings on gift and estate taxes.

“A charitable remainder trust is just one way that alumni and friends can have a big impact on HDS through gift planning,” says John Christel, senior associate director of University Planned Giving.

“There are many different vehicles. All offer tax benefits. Many offer income for life. It’s a great deal for both the donor and Harvard.”

Ron passed away in 2010, but Rita continues to establish new trusts. She calls the act of giving back to HDS “fulfilling.”

“Money is only relevant if you use it for something that matters,” she says. “The gifts to HDS are a way to sustain messages of tolerance and peace at a time when they’re most needed. In the process, it’s sustaining me. It really gives me immense joy.”

—Paul Massari