Students Inspire Giving: Donor Marty Kanter Shares the Most Tax-Efficient Way to Support the Technion

November 15, 2019
By: Jennifer Frey

Marty Kanter has a soft spot for Technion students. It started by chance in the 1980s when a group of Technion students were the featured speakers at the very first American Technion Society (ATS) event he attended in Minnesota. “I was amazed at how bright and engaged they were, how strongly they felt about their university,” he said. 

Shortly after, he participated in an ATS Planned Giving Mission to Israel, including the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. “We stopped to talk with students in the hallway, meeting an Arab Israeli who was so appreciative of attending the Technion,” Marty recalled. Not only was he taken with the students, yet again, but he was impressed by the Technion’s inclusivity. “I liked that the Technion was a welcoming institution that seeks to attract bright minds, whether Jewish or not, to benefit the world. That cemented my relationship with the Technion.”

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology campus

Returning from the campus visit, Marty made his first significant pledge to the ATS, and has been actively involved, on the ground and financially, to this day. He became president and chairman of the then-Minnesota Chapter. And since his return to Chicago, he’s been serving as a member of ATS Chicago’s Planned Giving Committee. 

Marty has watched the Technion become a global institution for good, creating scientific innovations that benefit Israel and the world at large. “I’m continually reading about amazing breakthroughs the Technion is making in science, medicine, and biotech engineering. As a Technion donor, it feels great to know I’m a part of it,” he said. “It’s one of the most important institutions for scientific research benefitting the world today. If there’s a cure for cancer, it might just come from the Technion.”

His support helps spreads the Technion Effect: the incomparable impact that the Technion has on Israel and the world. 

“There are a lot of ways to give,” he said, including through charitable remainder trusts and charitable gift annuities. Both vehicles provide donors with an income while part of their funds go to charity. “It’s never too soon to think about what to do once in retirement.”

If you’re 70 ½ or older, like Marty, you are required to take minimum annual distributions from your IRA. “Rolling that money over into your favorite charity is the most tax-efficient way to support the causes you hold dear,” he said. If the transaction is completed before December 31, age-appropriate individuals can use the IRA Charitable Rollover to make gifts of up to $100,000 completely tax-free. And you will not need to recognize the distribution as income.  

Marty Kanter

Marty uses the IRA rollover for most of his giving because it lowers his adjusted gross income, reducing his federal income tax and Medicare premiums. Following the 2018 hike in the standard deduction, the IRA is even more attractive, he said, “as it provides at the same net tax savings, or more.” Marty has already made a charitable bequest from his estate to the ATS but is considering leaving a portion of his IRA instead.

Born in Chicago to first-generation Americans on his father’s side, Marty attended a reform Jewish synagogue and was bar mitzvahed. “I felt strongly about my religion.” He received his bachelor’s degree at the business school of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a specialty in accounting, became a certified public accountant, and started his career in tax and business consulting in Chicago. Moving to Minnesota, he was a partner in two international accounting firms, including Laventhol & Horwath, the 9th largest accounting firm in the U.S. then in 1990, he and four of his fellow Laventhol partners tapped their entrepreneurial spirit to form Schechter Dokken Kanter Andrews & Selcer, Ltd. 

Marty is back in Chicago with his wife of nearly 50 years, Susanne. “We have tried to pass down to our children what it means to be Jewish, without being too forceful,” he said. It seems to have worked. His three daughters all have a connection with Israel through programs they attended in high school or college. While his children are busy building families of their own — the Kanters have six grandchildren — they are finding the time to get involved in charitable organizations. 

“We did a family trip to Israel a couple of years back,” Marty said. “I arranged a visit to the Technion and we had lunch with some students. My family was amazed by the students, just as I was when I first met them.”

Make a gift from your IRA before December 31 to take advantage of this most tax-efficient way of giving. Please contact Judy Sager, Executive Director, Planned Giving, at 781.531.0441 or by email at

For more than a century, the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology has pioneered in science and technology education and delivered world-changing impact. Proudly a global university, the Technion has long leveraged boundary-crossing collaborations to advance breakthrough research and technologies. Now with a presence in three countries, the Technion will prepare the next generation of global innovators. Technion people, ideas, and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world, innovating in fields from cancer research and sustainable energy to quantum computing and computer science to do good around the world.

The American Technion Society supports visionary education and world-changing impact through the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology. Based in New York City, we represent thousands of US donors, alumni, and stakeholders who invest in the Technion’s growth and innovation to advance critical research and technologies that serve the State of Israel and the global good. Over more than 75 years, our nationwide supporter network has funded new Technion scholarships, research, labs, and facilities that have helped deliver world-changing contributions and extend Technion education to campuses in three countries.