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Giving Back and Opening Doors for Others

Ravi Kanuri

Dr. Russell Deaton, Kanuri Professor of Engineering; Tasnuba Siddiqui, Kanuri Fellowship recipient in 2016; Ravi Kanuri

Giving back to the people and institutions that impacted his life is something Ravi Kanuri feels strongly about, and he spent 15-20 years thinking about how to do just that.

On the recommendations of some good friends, Ravi Kanuri came to the University of Memphis in 1970 to attend graduate school. Coming to the U of M as a foreign student from India, he was only allowed to bring a limited amount of money. Although financially limited, he enrolled, paid his tuition and had about $110 left over each month for all of his living expenses. Ravi says it was difficult, but he worked hard and managed to get his degree in two semesters and a summer session.

Ravi recalls that the Herff College of Engineering had tremendous facilities for those in Electrical Engineering. He also remembers all of his professors as friendly, accommodating and very helpful. One professor in particular, Dr. Charles Bray, made a strong impression on Ravi.

"I remember him to be a caring, dedicated teacher who enthused me in the course he taught," Ravi recalls. "He left an indelible impression on me."

Ravi would later make a contribution to the U of M Foundation in his honor.

In the years following graduation, he had a variety of engineering jobs, each of which gave him valuable experience. However, it was at his "dream jobs," first at GE and then at Lockheed Martin, that he would spend almost 30 years of his career, finally retiring in 2007.

Ravi and his wife Ellie made it a point to give to the Herff College of Engineering when they were able, but Ravi wanted to make a more long-term impact at the University.

"I attribute much of my professional success to that one piece of paper from the University," Ravi says, "and I feel indebted to the institution that made such a difference in my life."

When he met Susan Armacost, Director of Development for the Herff College of Engineering, "everything jelled," Ravi says. They spent a year and a half working on his plans, and he ultimately decided to create the Kanuri Fellowship and Kanuri Professorship in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering through his estate.

Ravi was pleased with the plan, but something was missing. After much conversation and consideration, he determined that he wanted to see the fruits of his gift during his lifetime. He began making annual gifts in the amount the estate gift would generate each year. In this manner, he had the pleasure of seeing the results of his investment during his lifetime.

When Ravi turned 70½ years old, he began taking the required distribution from his retirement accounts and has been using that each year to fund the awards. Since establishing the awards, Ravi has had the opportunity to meet the first two recipients of the Fellowship and has seen the Professorship awarded to Dr. Russell Deaton.

Additionally, he has become much more involved with the Herff College through his service on the advisory council for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which brings him to campus from time to time. "All of this has brought me great pleasure," he says.

Ravi tells his family, "Cherish the schools that gave you a degree-that degree opens doors."

Your gift can also open doors!

Contact Dan H. Murrell, CFRE at 901-678-2732 or to get started impacting students at the University of Memphis.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the University of Memphis 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 to the University of Memphis, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 635 Normal St. Memphis, TN 38152, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

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 the University of Memphis 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 the University of Memphis 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 the University of Memphis 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 the University of Memphis where you agree to make a gift to the University of Memphis 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.