A “Capital” Idea

Annuities are a winning solution for a School of Engineering graduate.
Robert Simonetti

More than 60 years have passed since Robert M. Simonetti, E56, carpooled daily from his home in Roxbury to study engineering at Tufts, but he still savors memories of how the School of Engineering fed his passion for hands-on problem solving.

Today, at age 86, Simonetti remains a pragmatic mechanical engineer, and, as such, he’s delighted to achieve his philanthropic goals with just the right tool. Over the past several years, as a number of CDs have matured, he has used the proceeds to establish charitable gift annuities.

One of the options managed by the Tufts Gift Planning Office, gift annuities deliver a fixed lifetime income, offer a charitable income tax deduction and payments that are favorably taxed, and provide an affordable way to establish a meaningful gift with a lasting impact. 

For Simonetti, his Tufts gift annuities bring the satisfaction of knowing that he will have a steady income for the rest of his life, and any remaining funds will support capital needs, preferably for mechanical engineering, at the School of Engineering. He already had included a gift in his estate plan to support capital projects at the school, but he was especially excited to learn about the many immediate and ongoing benefits of establishing charitable gift annuities during his lifetime.

“I wish I had known about them sooner!” he said. “It’s a smart way to manage my assets. I have peace of mind that the income stream will be there when I need it. It is nearly impossible to find a higher rate of income. And I am confident that my gift will be put to good use in engineering education.”

Indeed, Simonetti’s philanthropy “will have a profound and wonderful impact,” said School of Engineering Dean Jianmin Qu. “Funds that support capital investments are critical to keep our classrooms and labs first-rate and train students for fast-changing, technologically sophisticated engineering fields. The future of the School of Engineering is stronger thanks to Bob’s foresight and generosity.” 

Simonetti grew up in Roxbury, the son of Italian immigrants. His father was a plumber, his mother a homemaker.

At Tufts, he found the challenge he was looking for: a rigorous education that developed his critical thinking skills and that led to a successful career in nuclear energy, first at Stone & Webster, then at Raytheon. He and his late wife, Giuliana, made their home just outside Boston, and over the decades, he has regularly visited Tufts to see the school evolve, from Anderson Hall to the new Science and Engineering Complex. His classmates know him as the ringleader for reunions, and he proudly shares his Tufts affiliation, often decked in Jumbo attire.

“Tufts raised my sights about what I could do with my life,” he said. “I’ll always be grateful.”