December 2015

From Mary's Desk
As the end of the year approaches and we find ourselves in the middle of another strong and busy giving season here at Montana Community Foundation, I've been thinking about Donor Advised Funds (DAFs). Endowed DAFs are a unique philanthropic tool that allow donors to establish accounts at institutions, like MCF, and remain very involved in supporting the causes and issues they care about. Together, DAFs and community foundations bring local solutions to the causes and issues that matter most. DAFs provide a great alternative to private foundations for a number of reasons, including much lower start-up costs, greater tax advantages and much less administrative burden.

Despite the benefits DAFs bring to donors and more importantly to communities, proposals have been discussed in Congress that would challenge the fundamental and long-standing value of endowed philanthropy. Shortsighted policies could significantly diminish use of the fastest growing giving tools, reduce charitable giving among a diverse group of donors, and threaten communities' ability to quickly respond to local needs. 
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to DAFs:

DAFs help community philanthropy endure. During the Great Recession, DAFs allowed community foundations to sustain and even increase charitable giving at a time when individual giving plummeted and communities were most in need.

DAFs also encourage lasting civic engagement. It's reported the average age of a DAF donor is between 46 and 64 years old. This signals that DAFs are an important entry point for planned, strategic philanthropic giving and long-term community involvement.

DAFs build stronger communities. DAFS are flexible, allowing community foundations to quickly respond to local needs. DAFs have been used to support everything from emergency response efforts to community economic development.

DAFs help manage complex assets. Charitable giving encompasses more than just cash donations. Families and businesses can work with the community foundation to quickly and easily donate hard-to-value assets, and open family or corporate funds to further their charitable goals.

As you consider your year-end giving and writing a check to support your favorite charity, we hope you'll also consider making a long-term philanthropic commitment by establishing a donor advised fund. It's a great way to make a lasting impact on an organization you care about and help ensure their future for years to come.

From all of us here at MCF, thank you for your incredible support this year and your dedication to Montana's future. Happy holidays and a wonderful New Year! 

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & Chief Executive Officer
Don't Delay Your Giving Until the Last Moment!
December 31st will be here before you know it! That means it's time to make year-end gifts to take advantage of significant tax savings and most importantly, make a big difference for philanthropy in Montana. Remember, donations must be postmarked by December 31st, 2015 in order to be included as a charitable deduction this year. Also remember transfers of stock and other non-cash gifts can take a week or more to process. Please initiate stock transfers with your broker no later than Wednesday, 12/23. We can provide all the necessary paperwork to make things easy for you. If you have questions or need assistance with your charitable giving, please let us know - we're here to help.
More than 50 Scholarships Available for Montana Students  
More than 50 academic scholarships from MCF will be available for Montana students for the 2016-17 academic year. Last year we awarded more than $365,000 in scholarships to worthy Montana students, all made possible by the generous donors who have established scholarship funds at MCF.

Qualifications vary widely resulting in scholarship eligibility for a diverse range of students. For most scholarships, students can apply online beginning January 1, 2016. The closing date for most scholarship applications is March 18, 2016. Scholarship awards generally range between $500 and $5,000, some of which are renewable for multiple years. For questions or more detailed information about our scholarship program, contact Grants & Scholarships Program Officer Jenny Lou Stark at (406) 443-8313 or jstark@mtcf.org

Learn more about establishing a scholarship fund in support of our students and Montana's future.
Generosity at Work
November was a tremendous month of giving with more than 50 grants totaling over $100,000! Grants support everything from animal shelters and education, to community development, human services and so much more. Thank you to the many generous donors who make this giving possible!

If you're interested in finding out more about establishing a fund or supporting an existing fund visit the Giving section of our website.
End-of-Year Planning Checklist
With this year's challenges and accomplishments still fresh in your mind, now is a good time to review your estate and financial plans. To help you in this process, we have constructed the following checklist of actions for you to go over as the end of the year rolls closer.
  1. Review your current will and trusts. These may need to be updated because of major changes in your life, such as births, deaths, marriages or a move to a different state.
  2. Review the beneficiary designations for your life insurance and retirement plans to make sure your beneficiary isn't someone who is now deceased or a former spouse.
  3. Make sure your durable power of attorney for healthcare and living will are current. These medical documents should be updated and on file with family members and health care providers. Discuss decisions regarding anatomical gifts with your family.
  4. Take inventory and make a written record of the contents of any safe-deposit box. Give a copy to a trusted family member and note any items you are holding for someone else that don't belong to you.
  5. Name designated heirs to receive bank account proceeds at your death.
  6. Be sure you are comfortable with the guardian named in your will for those under your care, such as minor children or a loved one who is disabled.
  7. Make donations in honor of loved ones as meaningful holiday gifts. They can even result in tax benefits!
If you are interested in supporting MCF or another charitable fund we steward, please contact us today or make your donation online 

*This information is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney. 
10 Questions for the Staff - Nick Dietzen  
Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's future? Let's find out!
1. Where are you from originally?
I am proud to say I was born and raised in Helena, Montana.

2. What's your position at MCF and what do you do?
I am a planned giving officer for MCF and support the Montana Office of Gift Planning to further philanthropy in Montana, specializing in planned gifts and sustaining Montana's future through charitable giving.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time? 
Golf. I love to be outside, being active and meeting new people. Golf is a sport I have enjoyed for much of my life and I enjoy being able to have fun, compete, meet new friends and be humbled on a daily basis. I also am a huge sports fan and like to not only play, but watch a wide variety of athletic contests.
Planned Giving Officer Nick Dietzen
4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
Sports broadcasting. It doesn't take a lot of prompting for me to talk about sports for hours on end. In my life, sports have played an important role in connecting with a wide range of people and forming friendships and lasting bonds.

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
I have hosted numerous travelers from throughout the world via couchsurfing (a social network for travelers). I always try to be a good host for those who are visiting Montana for the first time.

6. What are three things you can't live without?
Family/friends, laughter and music.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
I first worked in the nonprofit sector full-time as a P.J. Boatwright Intern for the Minnesota Golf Association. Junior golf across the state was a main responsibility of mine and it was a fantastic experience.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
Montanan's are generous, considerate of others and want the best for their state. MCF is committed to help provide service to keep Montana great and create an exceptional future for Big Sky Country.

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
Whatever golf course I might have the pleasure of walking in our great state on a given spring, summer or fall day. I have met a great number of friends and been surrounded by the beauty of our state on the many gorgeous venues in Montana. 

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
Montana is an exceptional community with great pride. Not only for where we live, but for the people who we call our neighbors. I love the compassion, generosity and friendliness of Montanans.

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www.mtcf.org  |  (406) 443-8313