February 2017
From Mary's Desk

Many times I've written about the importance MCF places on mutually beneficial relationships. I'm so pleased to tell you that we've entered into an even stronger partnership that we believe may be a new way of doing business that optimizes each partner's strengths. We believe local communities can best identify and address local challenges. We believe in the importance of capturing a portion of the intergenerational transfer of wealth occurring in Montana by creating and managing permanent endowments for the benefit of our great state.

The connections between MCF and the West Yellowstone Community Foundation (WYF) run deep. It was the first local community foundation established in Montana in affiliation with MCF in 1992. This was done under the guidance of Arne and Steffi Siegel who had both served as board members of MCF and were integral in our founding. They are also WYF board members and live in that community.

Recently, those ties became even deeper. The WYF board of directors unanimously voted to transfer assets to MCF and by doing so, relieved themselves of the significant administrative burden that comes with asset management. Instead of spending their time on tax reporting, ensuring they remain in compliance with the IRS and a multitude of other administrative tasks, WYF can focus their time and effort on what they do best: strengthening the sense of community and enhancing the economic vitality of West Yellowstone.

The manner in which these new funds will be administered is the breaking news of this story. MCF legally owns the asset for the benefit of the West Yellowstone community. However, rather than MCF distributing the funds directly to the community organizations, MCF will be distributing funds to WYF to re-grant to their community. This way, WYF continues to be the feet on the ground engaged in and granting to their local community while MCF handles the legal and administrative requirements for accepting and managing charitable gifts.

It's a win-win situation. We are proud and grateful to the WYF Board for their even deeper partnership. We applaud their dedication to the West Yellowstone community as evidenced by their decision to focus on their mission.
Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
We're moving!

Late last year we purchased a building in Helena's historic downtown. The building, commonly known as Aspen Court, is at 33 S. Last Chance Gulch. We have been in the long process of getting it ready to occupy, and now the big day is upon us. This will be our new home as of March 1!
For more than a year, we have actively searched for new office space to accommodate an expanding team and respond to the growing demand for our services. As the sole owner of the new location, the building provides a larger footprint for us and we'll be joining three other great tenants - Department of Labor and Industry - Human Rights Bureau; Hattersley Walter, PLLP; and State Bar of Montana.
The purchase of real estate furthers our commitment to permanence as the state's champion of endowed philanthropy. The new office will also give donors, charitable organizations, professional advisors, and others a place to meet with our staff in person to discover how we can help them and in turn, help Montana.
The decision to purchase was not solely based on the need for a larger office; the results of our due diligence process yielded very favorable investment potential and financing terms. In addition, the new location keeps MCF in Helena's historic downtown, contributing to main street. 

We'll be holding an open house later in the spring, but feel free to stop by and visit any time!

Note that our mailing address (PO Box 1145, Helena, MT 59624) and phone and fax number (406.443.8313 and 406.442.0482) remain the same. Our new physical address, just a block south on the Walking Mall, is 33 S. Last Chance Gulch, Suite 2A.
The J.M.K. Innovation Prize

Here's an excellent funding opportunity for nonprofits. It's highly competitive, but certainly worth the effort considering the transformational grants that are possible.

The J.M.K. Innovation Prize is an exciting initiative of The J.M. Kaplan Fund, a New York-based family foundation. In 2017 up to ten prizes will be awarded to those - nonprofits and mission-driven for-profits - tackling our country's most pressing needs through social innovation. The prize will provide up to three years of support at $50,000 per year, as well as a $25,000 "bank" of funds available for technical assistance or targeted project expenses, making a total award of $175,000. 

Specifically, the prize seeks to support innovation in the fields of the environment, heritage conservation and social justice. The prize is particularly designed for early stage ideas being piloted or prototyped by dynamic visionaries. 

Interested individuals or teams may apply for The J.M.K. Innovation Prize from January 25 through April 28, 2017.  A short application is accessible at  A sub-set of applicants will be invited to submit a second, longer application for the prize in late spring.  A review of these second round applications will take place throughout the summer, with finalists being flown to New York City in the fall to present their ideas to the trustees of The J.M. Kaplan Fund.  The prize's awardees will be publicly announced in November 2017.
Deferred Charitable Gift Annuities: Pay now, be paid later, help charities forever

Nick Dietzen, Planned Giving Officer
We've all heard of a "win-win" situation. It might seem unlikely, but sometimes, there are win-win-wins.

A deferred charitable gift annuity is an opportunity for donors to receive financial benefits, charities to receive operational support, and Montana communities to become more permanently sustainable.

So how does it work? The donor contributes financial assets (cash, stocks, mutual funds, etc.) now for guaranteed, fixed payments later in life.

When the donor passes away, the remainder of their gift benefits the charity or charities they've chosen to support through a permanent endowment. If the donor doesn't need those future payments, however, they can relinquish them and the charity or charities they've decided to benefit will receive a larger, immediate gift to their endowment and the donor will take one last additional tax deduction for his generosity.

But it gets better. Montana offers the Montana Endowment Tax Credit for which the donor receives a tax credit on their Montana state income taxes in addition to the federal tax deduction associated with charitable giving.

With the Montana Endowment Tax Credit, individuals may claim up to $10,000 per person in tax credit each year. How much will your credit be? You receive 40 percent of the charitable amount set forth in the annuity contract and that amount offsets tax liability.

For example, an individual donor makes a gift to benefit their local food bank's endowment with a charitable amount of $10,000 in the form of a deferred charitable gift annuity. The donor will receive a $4,000 tax credit for his state taxes. If they owe $4,500 in state taxes for the year, they will only owe $500.

Because of the donor's gift, their local food bank will have greater future resources to provide programs for those with hunger insecurity. Better yet, the donor's local community will always have more resources to do charitable work. That's because their gift is benefiting a permanent endowment that will provide funding every year, well after the donor's philanthropic days are behind them.

Sound too good to be true? Just wait. Let's say the donor owns stock they purchased 20 years ago that has increased in value since they first purchased it. If they fund their deferred charitable gift annuity using this stock, they avoid paying capital gains tax.

We all live in a wonderful state with generous folks and a hope that the future will be bright. The Montana Endowment Tax Credit and deferred gift annuities offer an opportunity for donors to ensure the future will be bright, while enjoying benefits today and continuing a legacy of generosity that has helped make Montana a place we love to call home.

Contact us today to learn more about deferred gift annuities and the Montana Endowment Tax Credit!

*This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in example are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change.
Generosity at Work

January saw 35 grants totaling more than $34,000. December was a huge month of giving. Grants were made to support the arts, healthcare, local community foundations, children and many more worthy causes. If you're a fund representative, remember you can make grant recommendations at any time of the year and the months after the giving season can sometimes be a lean time for the organizations that are dear to you. 

Thank you to the many donors for their generosity and to the hardworking nonprofit organizations across Montana for all they do.

Are you interested in putting your generosity to work? Learn more about giving through the Montana Community Foundation.
10 Questions for the Staff - Kay Gray

Who are the people that spend their days working for Montana's future? Let's find out!

1. Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in Helena, MT.

2. What's your position at MCF and what do you do?
I'm the Senior Accountant and support the Controller in managing MCF's financial operations.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
I love to read mystery novels. I enjoy hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and a little bit of kayaking and biking.

4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything else, but I do wish I had the talent to be an artist. Artists have the ability to make us see ordinary things in extraordinary ways.

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
I minored in Art in college.

6. What are three things you can't live without?
Besides my husband, son and daughter, I could survive losing most anything else.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
When I was in high school my mother made me volunteer at Head Start in the summer.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
MCF is great organization staffed with great people doing great things.

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
Glacier Park

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
The wildness of the land and the kindness of the people.
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