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For Frank Russo '68, It's All About Connections


Frank Russo '68

By Mark Tarnacki, Staff Writer

Frank Russo's job of managing some of the world's largest public—assembly facilities-high-profile civic and collegiate arenas—amounts to "putting a puzzle together, knowing how it should all fit and making sense of it." That's a skill he developed as a student at Saint Michael's, notably with guidance from government professor Cleveland Williams, who sparked his initial interest in public administration before lending advice and connections that led to Frank's career path.

"The key is research, whether you're doing a paper for a college history class or responding to a bid to manage a facility," Frank says. "It's about connecting the dots and finding a way to get the right answer and the winning 'grade'—a contract. The method works."

Connections Matter
Frank prefers sharing his time and financial resources with things that are important to him. Besides co-chairing his class's recent 45th Reunion, Frank has been faithful with his annual fund gift for decades and, years ago, he established a trust that leaves a percentage of his estate to the College. "I want to leave a legacy at the institution that played such an important role in my life. It's no more complicated than that. There's a reward in knowing that this is a proven worthy cause. Saint Michael's College puts the money to great use so they deserve to have it."

Frank is a senior vice president for Global Spectrum, which manages buildings worldwide and recently closed a deal to run the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, a building Frank played a large role in keeping solvent early in his career. He applies sound business practices to end public-sector inefficiencies.

After graduation, Frank landed a job with Connecticut's Department for Community Affairs, which he parlayed into work for the City of Hartford. Promoted to assistant city manager by 1974, he would use his skill as a trumpet player to land a spot with the 76th Division Army Reserve Band for almost six years, thanks to an offer from a client who was both a town manager and the commanding officer of the 76th Division Army Reserve Battalion.

Frank's greatest accomplishment in college was meeting his wife, Andrea, a Jeanne Manse nursing student. He is also proud of helping author the first textbook in his chosen field. "At heart, I'm an arena manager," he says. Before Global Spectrum took him around the world, "he ran largely government-owned arenas, convention centers, stadiums and theaters for people who wanted them run like a business."

Frank feels that Saint Michael's does a great job of keeping in touch, providing opportunities to be involved and showing alumni the results of their giving.

"It's very rewarding," he says, citing campus improvements, strong academics and a sound Catholic tradition that has adapted meaningfully to the modern world. "Saint Michael's provides a sense of tradition and belonging no matter how many years we've been away. That's why I do all I can for the College. I may live in Connecticut but I feel like I have come home whenever I visit Saint Mike's."

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Learn What Matters

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Saint Michael's College a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

“I give, bequeath, and devise to Saint Michael’s College, an educational organization established by law at One Winooski Park, Box 256, Colchester, Vermont 05439, whose Federal Tax ID number is 03-0179403 [here follows the dollar amount or percentage of the gift, or an accurate description of the securities, insurance policies, retirement funds, or the amount or percentage of the residual estate, or the real estate or other assets given].”

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Saint Michael's College or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Saint Michael's College as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Saint Michael's College as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Saint Michael's College where you agree to make a gift to Saint Michael's College and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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