Kim Conti DeGroot BS '90 and Daniel DeGroot

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Kim Conti DeGroot BS ’90 and her husband, Daniel DeGroot, understand what it means to invest in their communities—both near and far.

Local to where they live in California, Kim and Daniel have established an endowment for underprivileged kids to participate in and gain access to an array of academic and recreational activities. They volunteer their time to travel and meet with RIT alumni all over the country and help connect them to valuable university-related resources. And from the other side of the nation, they fund critical scholarship support for current and future RIT students.

Kim and Daniel were some of the first donors to join the Sentinel Society in 2021, and they also established a student scholarship bequest. It’s more than feeling a need to pay forward financial support to others, they explain. It’s about gratitude.

“I was an RIT scholarship recipient when I was a student,” reflects Kim. “I was one of three children of a single, hard-working, blue-collar mother. It was because of the generosity of others—scholarships from donors—that enabled me to attend such an amazing school. I am who I am today because of my mom’s strength and the support from the donors. The message around what Daniel and I do is about thanking the institutions that helped us when we needed it, and reminding other past scholarship recipients that they are where they are today because of the donors.”

Kim remembers meeting several influential figures at RIT while obtaining her business management degree, each inspiring her ambition to work in real estate sales, property management, and investments. According to Kim, these interactions “planted the seed,” which would not only steer the direction of her career but help her always strive to connect with her philanthropic benefactors and beneficiaries. 

“I remember meeting Burt August, a past RIT trustee. We talked for quite a while and I told him how I was able to attend RIT because of his family’s generosity. Long after that encounter, and once I became more involved with RIT as an alumna and a donor, I had an ‘a-ha’ moment. It dawned on me in new ways how important it is to thank the people who have helped you along the way. I wrote to Mr. August and we ended up exchanging hand-written letters for years until he passed away. At one point I even joked with him, saying that I had 50 years to catch up to the amount of support he had provided to RIT.”

For Kim and Daniel, philanthropy is very much an educational experience within itself. 

“Our hope is that students will learn more about humility. It’s important to ask for help when you need it, and it’s just as critical that you thank the person or people who provide the help. As a society, we need to get back to saying ‘thank you’ to each other,” says Daniel.

When Kim and Daniel aren’t hard at work with their real estate businesses, they are jetting across the U.S. to various RIT alumni chapter events. Volunteering and interacting with alumni all over the country has been exciting and rewarding for Kim, who joined the RIT Alumni Association Board of Directors (AABOD) in 2008. 

“Truly, RIT is for life,” she comments. “If you’re an alum, the benefits and connections don’t stop when you graduate. There are always people willing to help you, and you don’t have to be located in Rochester, either. It’s important for alumni to gather where they are and network. But, no matter your affiliation, it’s the people that make RIT so great. It’s a community that is passionate about making the world a better place.”

Read more stories from other donors like Kim and Daniel

P.S. As you reflect on your giving, kindly consider incorporating RIT into your estate plans. A planned gift often provides financial and tax benefits to the donor while creating a lasting and profound impact on our students.

To create a legacy of your own visit Planned Giving Resources or contact:

Hal Burrall and
Tamra Werner BS ’91, MM ’20, MS ’21
RIT Office of Planned Giving
585-475-3106 |