November 2014

From Mary's Desk

I recently attended the Council on Foundations 2014 Fall Conference for Community Foundations in Cleveland. It was an amazing opportunity to meet peers in the community foundation sector, as well as attend a host of sessions offering great information.


One of the most interesting topics was emerging trends in our field. A few highlights in this area include taking a stand on and advocating for specific policy changes; assisting local entrepreneurs; creating online platforms that connect people and resources; networking with other community philanthropy organizations; creating public space for dialog and gathering; using outsourced expertise to free up staff time; and undertaking giving days to raise capital for the community.


The overarching theme of these trends is change. As community foundations and nonprofit organizations, we have to remember we aren't insulated from change in our industry. New technology, evolving demographics and global economics don't just influence giant corporations and for-profit business, they influence us as well. To thrive and ensure the future of our Montana communities, we too need to adapt to the world around us.  





Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE

President & Chief Executive Officer

$250,000 More for Montana

This year marks the 100th anniversary of community foundations in the United States. For a century, community foundations across the country have helped donors achieve their philanthropic goals and create permanent sources of funding for worthy nonprofits. Currently, there are more than 700 community foundations in the U.S. distributing an estimated $4.2 billion each year. Montana is home to nearly 75 local community foundations supporting Montana's small towns and cities throughout the state.


With this momentous centennial in mind at their annual board meeting, the Montana Community Foundation (MCF) board of directors unanimously approved an annual charitable fund payout increase of 0.5 percent. This increase brings the annual payout percentage to 4.5 percent and puts MCF in the top 30 percent for payouts among community foundations in the United States. More importantly, the increase will result in approximately $250,000 more in grant funding each year to support philanthropy in Montana. This increase takes MCF's annual grants from approximately $1.9 million to nearly $2.2 million. 

MCF Board Elects New Officers and Members

During MCF's annual board meeting on November 7, the board elected new officers and board members. 


Five new board members were elected to three-year terms, bringing the total board to 12 members. The new board members include Laura Brehm of Missoula, an independent philanthropy consultant; Kelly Bruggeman of Billings, the Vice President and Executive Director of the First Interstate BancSystem Foundation; Barbara Byrne of Great Falls, a Montana rancher; Tawnya Rupe of Emigrant, the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Fund Director at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; and Scott Pankratz of Missoula, the co-founder and Executive Director of Ecology Project International.


"We would like to offer a warm welcome to our new board members," said MCF President and CEO Mary Rutherford. "This group brings a diverse background, incredible talent and most importantly, their personal commitment to strengthening philanthropy for the future of Montana."


In addition to electing new board members, officers were elected to lead the board for the next year. These include Chair Mary Craigle of Helena, the Census & Economic Information Center Bureau Chief; Vice Chair Cynthia Woods of Billings, an estate and tax attorney with a private practice; Secretary Brian Patrick of Great Falls, the Director of Business Operations at Great Falls Public Schools; and Treasurer Dale Woolhiser of Missoula, the First Vice President - Investments with UBS Financial Missoula.


"The work the Montana Community Foundation has accomplished under the guidance of outgoing Board Chair Dan Clark is a tribute to his dedication to philanthropy," said new MCF Board Chair Mary Craigle. "We would also like to give our sincere thanks to retiring board member Mike Gustafson. For the past seven years, he has done a remarkable service for MCF and under his chairmanship, guided the Investment Committee decisions which resulted in steady returns."


We hope you'll join us in congratulating our new officers and welcoming an outstanding group of new board members! 

10 Questions for the Board - Mary Craigle

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?

Great Falls. I'm a 4th generation Montanan - both parents were raised in Helena, grandmother born in Helena and great grandfather from Boulder.


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

Census & Economic Information Center Bureau Chief at the Montana Department of Commerce.


3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
I like to stay busy so I have a number of "hobbies". I play the piano and fill in at church; I run and lift weights; I play golf and tennis; I read; I serve on four boards; and most important I spend time with my son Kelly, my grandkids, and my friends.

Mary Craigle was recently 
elected as MCF Board Chair.
4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?

Forensics - I love mysteries and puzzles.


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

My son and I drink 3-4 six packs of Diet Peach Snapple every week.


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

Keurig coffee maker, my Honda Crosstour and my iPhone.


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

I have been involved since I was a kid - church, Camp Fire girl, Junior League, etc. My parents were very involved and I loved being part of their work for others.


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

That we can make your dream for a better Montana come true through our local community foundations, our amazing financial resources, and our expertise in planned giving.


9. What's your favorite place in Montana?

I love every part of Montana so my favorite is where I am at the moment.


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

Montanans are the most friendly, caring people I know. I have lived and traveled throughout the U.S. and this is the only place that folks say hi or give the "nod" to total strangers. We are just wonderful people living in a wonderful state.

Generosity at Work

Generous donors and outstanding nonprofit organizations made last month a wonderful one full of giving. October saw approximately 55 grants totaling more than $140,000 to support philanthropy in Montana!


A great example we heard about this month is a grant made through the Lincoln County Community Foundation and MCF to W.F. Morrison Elementary in Troy, MT. The funding from this grant has made major improvements to the school's playground possible.


It's the giving season! Find out how you can give back to Montana here.


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! 

A generous grant through the Lincoln County Community Foundation and MCF provided W.F. Morrison Elementary in Troy, MT the funding to make playground renovations. These include a new basketball court, new equipment and more.
Year-End Giving and Taxes - Start Planning Today!

As December 31st approaches, don't procrastinate on your year-end giving! Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on how grateful we are and give thanks. It is also the time of year when we make decisions about our own charitable giving. Now is a great time to take care of the charities you love while also getting significant tax breaks for yourself. 


Whatever your giving level, here are some things to consider:


1.  Give! No matter what amount or to which charity it is benefitting, please give. Giving back speaks to the core of who we are as Americans. Just get the donation to the charity by 12/31/2014 to qualify for a 2014 tax deduction.

Amy Sullivan is the Director of the Montana Office of Gift Planning.
2. Using a planned giving vehicle - like a deferred gift annuity - is a powerful way to increase your giving! For those in higher tax brackets, a $10,000 deferred gift annuity will only cost you $3,000 after taking advantage of significant tax savings and credits.

3. The Montana Endowment Tax Credit is available for Montana taxpayers. Planned gifts donated to qualified endowments will result in a CREDIT equal to 40 percent of the charitable value of your gift! Now that's a holiday gift to you AND your favorite charity!


4. If you are a donor and you wish to donate appreciated stock (good move on your part!) please remember it can take up to a week for the transfer to be complete. If you wait until the last few days of the year the donation may not make it to the charity in time for a 2014 tax deduction. Don't make that mistake!


5. Don't let confusion about how much you should give, how you should give it, or where you should give it hold you back. Contact us! We are always here to help!


6. If you represent a nonprofit organization but don't have the internal expertise to handle planned giving, partner with us! Encourage donors by saying: "We are pleased to offer planned giving to our supporters through a partnership with the Montana Community Foundation!"  


Have questions or want to learn more? Contact our resident planned giving expert Amy Sullivan or click here.


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

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