PLAN 70:
Easing The Cost Of Education

A Gift for Future Generations: Tee Taggart and Jack Turner

When Tee Taggart (PhD CP 1981) and her husband Jack Turner (BSEE 1966) heard about the new opportunity to invest in the MIT Endowment, they decided to use the occasion to help alleviate a problem they care deeply about: the cost of education.

Together they have established a charitable remainder unitrust that will provide income to them during their lives, and financial aid to students in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (50%) and undergraduate scholarships in all fields of study (50%) after their deaths. As Taggart says, 'This gift is really directed at future generations of students.'

Taggart came to SA+P through her work in the Massachusetts state banking department, where she conducted a series of nationally recognized studies in discriminatory lending practices, most notably a major 'red-lining' study. After meeting with Langley Keyes, her next major research project there, an actuarial analysis of mortgage risk, became her doctoral dissertation. 'I was a peripatetic and eclectic student,' says Taggart, who greatly appreciated the easy interface between MIT and the outside world.

In the early 80s, Taggart migrated from public sector work to a highly successful career in investment management. 'I'm what is usually called an aggressive investor,' she explains, so investing in the more risk-oriented vehicle in the MIT Endowment appealed to her and to Jack. She has stayed connected to the Institute as an angel investor in start-up companies, several of which have emerged from MIT.

Turner, as Associate Director of MIT's Technology Licensing Office, often negotiates stock in a start-up company as part of the fee to MIT for a licensing agreement. This stock is then turned over to the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) which manages the Institute's equity assets. As a result, they are both familiar with MITIMCo's investment strategies and successes.

'I've been impressed with the investment management philosophy, which existed before Seth Alexander came to MIT but has been reinforced by him,' says Turner. 'As an investment professional, Tee has an even stronger bias toward MIT's asset allocation approach and unconventional alternative investment portfolios.'

Taggart and Turner are no strangers to doing well while doing good. In the early 80s, the couple designed and built a solar-heated house in Cambridge, MA. In 2003, they added a photovoltaic system, partly funded by an MIT grant, which allows them to power their household and return energy to the power grid. 'For us, it’s cost-effective,' said Taggart. 'The current oil prices create an even greater incentive, and New England is an optimal environment.'

Both are keenly aware of the importance for graduate fellowship funds for SA+P. 'There are students who would like to come here that can't afford to,' said Turner, who would like to encourage more alumni/ae to designate their gifts for financial aid.

Taggart agrees. 'The most important thing for us is to think about giving, giving to what matters most to us.'

A New Giving Opportunity: Charitable Remainder Unitrusts

A unitrust is a fund in your name, managed by MIT, that pays you income for life. Specifically, the unitrust pays five percent of its market value each year to you and/or the beneficiary you choose. At the end of its term, any remaining assets support SA+P.

As a result of an IRS private letter ruling, donors who establish charitable remainder unitrusts can now invest these trusts in the MIT endowment. This arrangement will provide the trusts with approximately the same performance rate as the endowment, which has averaged a 15% return over the past ten years.

As a result, they will increase both their potential income and the impact of their gifts on SA+P.

When you establish an MIT unitrust, you

  • Increase your current income
  • Avoid capital gains tax on appreciated assets
  • Receive free professional asset management
  • Obtain a charitable income tax deduction
  • Diversify your portfolio
  • Reduce your estate tax liability
  • Receive full gift credit
  • Support the important work of the School of Architecture + Planning

For more information about charitable remainder trusts and other gifts that pay you income, please call 617.253.8896 or email

Article by Sarah Rowley

Posted March 2008