Skip to Content

Politi Fund Helping Saint Michael's Students Discover the World and Themselves


Alice English '10, the College's first Politi Scholar, says one generous man's expansive world view and foresight changed her life, enabling her to study for nine months in Grenoble, France. 

As a result of her Politi Scholarship experience, English has become an assured speaker of French. She discovered a new passion and career path after she assimilated the special French relationship with their food, inspiring her to discover where her own food came from. 

"I am so grateful to Mr. Politi for his generosity toward Saint Mike's," Alice wrote in a recent letter to the College expressing her gratitude for the Politi Scholarship. "Without him, I wouldn't have been able to afford this experience, and thanks to it, I achieved a high level of expertise in the French language, came to better understand their culture and had adventures that will shape the rest of my life. Right now I'm working on an organic vegetable farm in Connecticut. 

"I hope to work on more farms in the U.S. and abroad (including France of course) to learn about food production, and trade and distribution. Hopefully this will lead to a better understanding of and perhaps solution for some of the problems in these areas. I would never have become interested in this if it weren't for my study abroad experience." 

Who Francis Politi Was
Francis Politi, an international statesman and businessman, died in 2006 at age 95 in his hometown of Northfield, Vt., after establishing a close relationship with the priests of the Society of Saint Edmund at Saint Michael's in his later life. He designated that his $1 million gifts to both Saint Michael's and Norwich University be used for continuing commitments to international education. 

Since English's pioneering experience, The Politi International Fellows Program, funded through the Politi Fund, has offered competitive $5,000 scholarships for students who want to study for a full year in a foreign country, in their second language. 

Developing a World View
Since Alice received that first Fellowship, six others have also taken advantage of this funding source to study abroad for a year. Fellowships for 2011 were awarded to students who are now in Bordeaux, France; Pune, India; and Provence, France. 

Also, 43 students have received a Politi Study Abroad Scholarship (also known as a Politi Language Incentive Grant). These provide $500 to each recipient to help enhance that student's semester-long study abroad experience. 

The Dr. A. Francis Politi International Fund was established by Francis Politi's estate with the purpose of "strengthening the College's ability to produce graduates who have studied in other nations as a means of gaining a deeper understanding of foreign cultures, developing fluency in a foreign language and generally increasing their global perspective." 

A Businessman, a Patriot
Mr. Politi's long, astonishing career brought him into worldwide prominence as a statesman for the U.S. government and as a businessman in countries far and wide. After leaving his hometown of Northfield, he started a monument business in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but set that aside to help the nation at the start of World War II, when he joined the War Production Board working under the New Deal Office of Price Stabilization in Washington. Next, he joined the U.S. State Department where he worked for the Board of Economic Warfare. 

He traveled to Argentina and Brazil, where he was said to have purchased vast stores of commodities like leather, sugar and beef, which he sent to Russia in order to take them out of reach of Axis powers. Also during the war, he went to Mexico and purchased and shipped North train-car loads of pesos made of silver, which was desperately needed by the U.S. for manufacturing electronics. 

A Handshake Was Enough

Fluent in English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and French, with workable knowledge of German and Dutch, Mr. Politi became a CEO at a number of international companies after the war, including Carborundum International. He operated out of Geneva, where he became known for closing enormous financial deals with a handshake. 

While maintaining residences in Switzerland, Upstate New York, Wisconsin, New York City and elsewhere, he retired to Roxbury, Vt., and always considered Northfield, Vt. his home, as he continued to spend summers there throughout his life. 

-By Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer 

Take Action
For information on ways to create a scholarship fund through an estate gift, click here or contact Susan Moses, gift planning officer at 802-654-2606, toll-free at 888-448-7111 or at

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address

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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address