April 2018
From Mary's Desk

When we think of giving, many of us think about writing a check or perhaps dropping off some gently used clothing or other household items. Similarly, when it comes to giving to an endowment at a community foundation like MCF, most people think of writing a check or some even consider donating stock. Yet one of the most amazing things we do at MCF through the Montana Office of Gift Planning is help people find creative ways to give. Generosity provides a benefit to the nonprofit organizations we care about, while optimizing the benefit to the donor, based on their personal situation and needs. While using cash or appreciated stock are the most common types of gifts, there a number of other ways you can leave your legacy to benefit Montana.

Life insurance is something many people have, but rarely think of as an asset that can be donated. Rather than canceling policies you no longer need, you can simply assign MCF as the beneficiary of your policy. Or you can donate the policies outright. We can work with you to ensure the specific fund you want to support ultimately benefits from your generosity.

Retirement plan assets are another great way to give. Because tax laws often subject these assets to income and estate taxes upon death, these are a great choice for your charitable donations because of the tax benefits, and you still have more tax-favored assets to leave to your loved ones.

Real estate is yet another type of asset to consider giving. For property that is not mortgaged and has appreciated in value, donating it is an effective way to benefit the charitable funds of your choosing while deducting the fair market value of the gift and eliminating all capital gains tax. Plus, you remove the asset from your taxable estate.

There are other complex types of gifts such as a retained life estate, a bargain sale, charitable lead trusts and others that are possibilities. The most important thing about charitable giving is that you do it in a way that makes the most sense to you. When you do make the decision to give in support of the causes you care about, know there are many creative ways to accomplish your goals and we're here to help.

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
Claire Muller Joins Seeley Lake Community Foundation

The Seeley Lake Community Foundation is proud to announce Claire Muller as their new Executive Director. Her formal training and life experiences have prepared her well for this position. Claire will begin her new role on April 30th .
Claire graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a BA in International Development Studies. She earned a Nonprofit Administration professional certificate from the University of Montana.  Her leadership and organizational skills have been proven through experiences with organizations in Montana and Idaho, including Blackfoot Challenge, Montana Natural History Center, the U.S. Forest Service, Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, and the Montana Conservation Corps.
Claire enjoys recreation and quiet time in wild places. The opportunity to enhance quality of life and long-term prosperity in a Montana town nestled between the Mission Mountains and the Swan Range is appealing, and she looks forward to getting to know the people in this amazing place.
SLCF President A. Lee Boman states, "The Seeley Lake Community Foundation is pleased to have someone with Claire's level of energy and leadership helping build sustainable benefits for all." Claire's professional experience in collaboration and leadership, her academic studies, and her skills at relationship building set the stage for community wide enhancements.
Join us in welcoming Claire to Montana's community foundation community!
Connecting Your Company with Your Community

Montana has businesses of many differing sizes. If you're a leader in your company who is responsible for your community engagement program or maybe you're the only employee and want to engage in the community through philanthropy, the Montana Community Foundation can help. Here are a few clues to help you determine what help your local community foundation and statewide partners like MCF can provide:

Clue #1: Your inbox isn't getting any smaller.
Are you getting more and more letters and emails asking your company to support worthy causes? Do invitations to charity events land in your inbox almost every day? Do some of these requests come from important clients and customers? Do some even come from employees in your own company? How do you know which causes are worth supporting? You are not alone. The number of nonprofit organizations is increasing steadily, at the rate of nearly 30,000 new organizations each year (nationwide). The total number of nonprofit organizations in America now totals over 1.8 million. No wonder your inbox is filling up, and unlikely to be empty anytime soon. Consider organizing your company's charitable giving through a corporate donor-advised fund at your community foundation. It will help you budget, keep track of your donations and provide a resource to point interested charitable partners. Plus, you'll be able to better respond to inquiries from charities by explaining that your charitable giving is handled through a corporate fund, making it easier to streamline your ability to process requests. Don't forget that at MCF, a corporate donor advised fund offers contributions to be eligible for the Montana Endowment Tax Credit. Perhaps you even have employees who might be interested in contributing and receiving tax benefits as well.

Clue #2:  Where did this foundation come from?
It happens. Someone in the office is cleaning out a filing cabinet, recycling old papers, creating space, decreasing the carbon footprint. All good! And then that someone stumbles on an important-looking file. A file that doesn't appear to have been touched for a while. As in a few years. "Do we have a corporate foundation?" that someone asks. "I've never heard of it." Where did that foundation come from? Perhaps it got lost in the shuffle of the merger. Or maybe the person in charge of the foundation retired last year and it's just never been reassigned. Or maybe a handful of people know all about it, but everyone else is in the dark. It happens. And it's okay, because something can be done. Get in touch with your friends at the community foundation to help you organize your foundation structure through an easy-to-use corporate donor-advised fund. No new legal entity establishment is required and there are additional benefits in partnering for a corporate donor-advised fund. Contact us to learn more.

Clue #3:  Our budget is out of sync with our giving.
Your company supports a wide variety of causes by making monetary gifts to its favorite charities. Sometimes, though, the timing of those gifts is not quite lined up with the company's budget. For example, your company might have a terrific year and be able to give a lot to charity before December 31, but management is concerned that next year's budget might not be as flexible to make gifts to charities. Establishing a corporate donor-advised fund at your community foundation is a great way to meet both the company's budget goals and giving goals. For example, a company can transfer $50,000 to a corporate donor-advised fund prior to December 31, so it's a final transaction for purposes of the company's budget, taxes, and financial statements. Then, during the following year or over multiple years, the company can support charitable organizations with gifts from the donor-advised fund. The structure of the donor-advised fund allows you to plan the timing of your gifts to charities without worrying about balancing your giving goals with the company's budget. 
So, starting a donor-advised fund for your company has a number of advantages when it comes to making a positive impact in your community. Whether your organization has offices all over the country, the state or maybe it's a home office, there is a solution to be more thoughtful and strategic with your giving.

Interested in learning more about donor advised funds and the Montana Endowment Tax Credit? Businesses with Montana state income tax liability may claim a credit in the amount of 20% of their charitable contributions to a qualified endowment, which could be that same donor-advised fund. With new tax reform regulations in effect, your deduction limits may change, but the state credit is dollar-for-dollar in eliminating existing tax liability for the given tax year. C corporations may claim up to $10,000 per year while partnerships, LLCs and S corporations are allowed up to $10,000 per year, per partner.

Thank you for helping in your community and in our state. Remember, we are here to help.
Nonprofit Spotlight: MontanaPBS

At MontanaPBS, we believe that quality television has the power to elevate our understanding of the world, encourage respect for one another, and influence our lives in a positive way. MontanaPBS shares diverse stories; connects our citizens; discovers common ground; and celebrates the independent spirit and beauty of Montana. 

We have many exciting projects in production including documentaries with national and international reach.

C.M. Russell and the West: The Montana broadcast premiere in November 2017 garnered more than 40,000 viewers on the final night alone. We are humbled by the overwhelming positive response from Russell fans and the public to the story of Russell as a cowboy, budding artist and eventually the international fame he achieved in partnership with Nancy. National PBS has already agreed to distribute a shorter, 1-hour version, narrated by academy award winning actor J.K. Simmons.

View the Film Trailer

The Last Artifact: Just outside of Paris inside a high-tech vault, requiring three independently controlled keys, rests a small metallic cylinder about the diameter of golf ball. Encased within three vacuum-sealed bell jars it may not look like much, but it is one of the most important objects on the planet.

View the Film Trailer  Password: Artifact2018

To support the production of these films or learn about other exciting projects at MontanaPBS please visit or call our office at 1-866-832-0829.  Thank you!
A Day of Giving

Giving Days are happening across Montana beginning May 3rd. Organized by local community foundations, the events are an opportunity to support nonprofit organizations that are vital to communities. 

Please join your fellow Montanans on May 3-4th and give where you live! Even if you don't have a giving day in your community, we hope you'll take the opportunity to give to your local community foundation or favorite nonprofit organization.

Giving Day Events:

Generosity at Work

Spring is in the air and so is the giving spirit! In March we had 57 grants totaling more than $130,000! Thank you to the generous donors who made this possible and thank you to the nonprofit organizations putting that generosity to work across our great state!

If you want to put your generosity to work, visit the Giving section of our website to learn more.
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