October 2014

From Mary's Desk

Summer has passed and fall is a time I reflect on the things that are important to me. As the seasons change, I'm mindful of changes in my life and it's a good time to make sure things are in order. Having moved to Montana this year, I'll be updating my will to reflect my ultimate wishes that take into consideration the laws of my chosen home state. If it's been a while since you have updated your will or estate plan, I encourage you to review this important document. Or, if you don't have a will, please take the time to create one. We sincerely hope when you draft or revise your will or estate plan you'll consider providing for those causes that matter to you. Leave your legacy through charitable gifts at Montana Community Foundation. We stand ready to serve as your partner in preserving Montana's future. 







Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE

Chief Executive Officer

Generosity at Work

It was another great month of donor generosity and important funding for grantees. September saw approximately 19 grants totaling more than $54,000 to support philanthropy in Montana!


Find out how you can give back to Montana here.

Making a Splash

The Greater Polson Community Foundation (GPCF), which started in December 2007, has quickly become a leader in local giving. From the beginning, the foundation's goal was to raise money for a permanent endowment for the Polson community, and to help other nonprofits in new endeavors that they couldn't afford to fund otherwise.


"Montana Community Foundation incentive grants have allowed GPCF to award grants in our community beyond what the earnings from the permanent endowment could provide," foundation Treasurer John Cowan said. "In six years, we have dispersed more than $125,000 into our community."


Thanks to a $2,500 grant in 2013, the Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Lake County was able to pay for 75 club members to participate in eight 30-minute swimming lessons at the Mission Valley Aquatic Center after school and throughout last summer.

Local children learning to swim at the Mission Valley Aquatic Center as a result of grants made to the Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Lake County.

Learning to swim is important for all children, especially those who live in such close proximity to lakes, rivers, reservoirs and canals. In the Mission Valley, learning to swim is essential. Many children in the Polson area spend summers splashing around in local waterways, but until last year when the new aquatic center opened, there were few swimming lesson programs and none were inexpensive.


According to Cowan, the grant to the Boys and Girls Club did double-duty in that it helped the club, but the funds also helped another nonprofit in their community - Mission Valley Aquatics (MVA).


"We were so grateful to work with the boys and girls club to put to use this wonderful grant from the Greater Polson Community Foundation," said MVA Director Ali Bronsdon. "This program allowed us to serve the portion of our population that is most in need of aquatic instruction, fitness and recreational opportunities."


In addition to the swimming lesson grants, GPCF funds will serve many other youth-oriented organizations this year.


"The incentive grants GPCF has been awarded from the Montana Community Foundation have also allowed us to grant funds to the Polson Ski Club this year," said President Penny Jarecki. "A bus from Polson goes to Whitefish each Saturday during the ski season. This grant will allow local youngsters, whose parents cannot afford it, the opportunity to participate in the local ski program."


These important contributions give children and families opportunities their financial situation would otherwise deny them.



Are you a donor, grantee or affiliate organization that has a great story to share about philanthropy in Montana? Let us know and we'll include it in a future edition of Infinity!
Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

The old adage tells us we can't have our cake and eat it too. The Montana Endowment Tax Credit, however, may just prove the saying wrong. Established in 1997 to encourage individuals, businesses and organizations to make lasting investments in their communities, the Montana Endowment Tax Credit creates an incredible incentive for residents to give to endowments. We're lucky enough to live in one of very few states to offer such a credit.


The credit allows donors to pay less in Montana state income tax when they make a qualifying planned gift to a qualified Montana charitable endowment. What exactly is a planned gift? Planned gifts are a way of giving that allows donors to maintain access to income during their lifetime, provide estate and tax planning tools, and build permanent wealth for Montana's charities, nonprofit organizations and local community foundations. Things like gift annuities, charitable trusts and some estate gifts all fall into this category.


So just how much can you save? The incentive is 40 percent of the gift's federal charitable deduction, up to a $10,000 tax credit, per year, per individual, and a credit of 20 percent of a direct gift by a qualified business, up to $10,000 per year. And remember, this credit is in addition to your charitable deduction!


The bottom line is not only can you create tremendous tax savings for yourself or your business, you can also create a permanent way to benefit the community and causes you and your family care so much about. If you would like to save money on your taxes AND help your local community, contact our resident planned giving expert Amy Sullivan or click here to learn more.


*This is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor.

10 Questions for the Board - Cynthia Woods

Just who are these wonderful folks that give so much back to Montana through their work with MCF and beyond? Let's find out!


1. Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Plentywood. Both of my parents were born and raised on farms near Plentywood.


2. What's your "real" job outside the foundation?

I am a tax attorney in a solo estate planning practice. 


3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
I have a number of interests. I love to ski, both water and snow, mountain bike, walk with my three dogs, play tennis, practice hot yoga, play piano, garden, cook, bake, knit and read.

Cynthia Woods serves on the 
MCF board.
4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?

I love my work and would not like a different profession. However, if I was forced to change, I would like to be a veterinarian in a small animal clinic. I love animals and would like to care for them.

5. What's something not very many people know about you?

I love to work with dough, especially yeast dough. I am continually trying to achieve my French bread vision of having the crustiest crust with a lot of holes in the middle.

6. What are three things you can't live without?

My family, my dogs and exercise. 

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?

I became involved in the Yellowstone County Guardianship Program over 20 years ago and joined the Board of the Billings Mental Health Center, the sponsor of the Yellowstone County Guardianship Council.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?

It is the perfect place to establish a donor advised fund. MCF is a great steward of the funds and will honor the donor's intent as expressed in the fund agreement without bias. 

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?

I love Big Sky in the winter and Yellowtail in the summer.

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?

Montanans are friendly, hard-working and generous.

Upcoming Webinars

MCF will be giving a series of helpful and informative webinars in the coming months and we hope you'll join us for them. Watch for invitations by email in the near future. *Note that dates and times are subject to change.


1. October 30, 3-4 p.m., Fiscal Sponsorship presented by Cathy Cooney, Program Director


2. November 13, Time TBA, Endowment Building & the Montana Endowment Tax Credit presented by Amy Sullivan, Director of the Montana Office of Gift Planning


3. January 8, 2-3 p.m., Frequently Asked Questions - Agency Endowment Funds at MCF presented by Emily Kovarik, Chief Financial Officer


4. February 19, 2-3 p.m., MCF General and Investment Update presented by Emily Kovarik, Chief Financial Officer


5. March 19, Time TBA, Why Planned Giving?/How to Approach Donors/MT Endowment Tax Credit presented by Amy Sullivan, Director of the Montana Office of Gift Planning         


6. April, Time and Topic TBA


7. May 14, Time TBA, How to Determine if You Have Donors who are Planned Giving Prospects presented by Amy Sullivan, Director of the Montana Office of Gift Planning


8. June, Time and Topic TBA

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