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Couple Finds Creative Ways to Amplify Their Impact

Paint Smudge Line
Heidi and Rod Foster with their sons

Heidi and Rod Foster with their sons

There comes a time in our lives when we are given the chance to take a step back and reflect on the early experiences that shaped us. For Rod and Heidi Foster, their time at UNI was one of those pivotal moments.

Without UNI and the accounting department faculty who motivated him, Rod’s career may have taken a different trajectory. It was during his time on campus that he accepted a job offer in the Des Moines office of McGladrey Hendrickson & Co., now RSM US LLP, where he has since worked for nearly four decades and is now a partner and location leader.

The UNI School of Music provided a similarly transformational experience for Heidi. The time she spent in Russell Hall, outside of her chemistry major, kindled a lifelong passion for a creative outlet that “feeds the soul.”

“I think that’s one of the most special things about the university: having those connections to people across disciplines and across the campus that maybe you wouldn’t normally interact with outside of your major,” Heidi says.

Rod and Heidi met while at UNI, where the Varsity Men’s Glee Club Variety Show provided the setting for their first date. They have remained closely involved with their alma mater over the years, with Rod serving on the College of Business Accounting Advisory Council and recruiting “as many UNI students as he can possibly get” for RSM.

Together, the Fosters have used a variety of planned giving options to benefit their beloved university within their lifetime and beyond.

In 2020, Rod and Heidi established the Foster Fellowship for Junior Faculty in Accounting Endowment through a donor advised fund, which allowed them to donate the full value of stock investments while avoiding any tax on the appreciation in value.

“It’s a very tax-effective way to maximize—to amplify—your gift,” Rod says. “As an accountant, I would encourage everyone who can to give through their appreciated assets.”

Rod said his goal is to support many Panthers by supporting the amazing faculty who shape students’ lives.

“I always encourage people to give to something where you can see it while you’re still alive … To feel the joy and satisfaction that comes with giving,” Rod says.

More recently, the couple established two funds through an estate gift: the Rodney D. and Heidi B. Foster Endowed Accounting Faculty Fund and the Heidi B. and Rodney D. Foster Endowed Orchestra and Wind Symphony Fund.

Rod and Heidi hope their gifts will provide a legacy such that the Panthers of tomorrow are able to access the same foundational experiences they had. You can join Rod and Heidi in transforming the lives of future UNI students through a gift in your estate plan. To learn more about your options, contact Jane Halverson at (319) 273-4665 or jane.halverson@uni.edu.