February 2018
From Mary's Desk

Here for tomorrow. And here for today. When I think about the role Montana Community Foundation plays in our great state, I think about the long term. Forever. Tomorrow. Yet, I'm also reminded that we're here for Montana NOW and today, too.

We recently completed one of the most important processes we conduct here at MCF - the annual endowment payout distribution. The annual endowment payout distribution is just as it says, an annual payout from all of our designated, permanent charitable funds to benefitting nonprofits. We're happy to report the payout totals more than $2.8 million and benefits over 600 organizations.

The endowment payout is at the core of MCF's purpose in creating permanent charitable funds for the benefit of Montana. Generous donors have had the foresight to understand supporting the charities they are passionate about is perhaps more important in the long-term after they are gone than it is today. It epitomizes our goal of ensuring Montana's future forever through philanthropy. We're here for Montana forever.

But we're also here for Montana today, as demonstrated by our work through the Montana Wildfire Relief Fund which recently distributed more than $600,000 in support of wildfire relief. In addition to the annual endowment payout and the extraordinary Montana Wildfire Relief Fund, MCF awards nearly $500,000 annually from nonpermanent funds in service to Montana. While our focus is building permanent philanthropy, we know there will be times and situations when we must respond in the here and now.

Family, friends, neighbors, Montanans. We're here for Montana now and forever.

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
$2.8 Million for Montana

Laura Wagner helps Cathy Lloyd with the computer at the Senior Citizen's Center in Nashua. With a $1,000 grant from the Valley County Community Foundation, the Center was able to buy a computer and supplies to provide internet training for seniors.
What incredible legacies generous donors and thoughtful nonprofits have created for Montana. The 2017 annual distribution totals more than $2.8 million benefiting over 600 nonprofit organizations. 

The distribution brings into focus the power of permanent endowments. It not only represents a reliable source of forever funding for these worthy charities, but also represents the foresight of the donors and nonprofit boards who established these funds. They knew these organizations need funding not just in the here and now, but far into the future as well.

There is no doubt nonprofit organizations need and benefit from annual funding. But just like individuals who get their paychecks and use them to pay the bills and live life today, while putting part of that check into a retirement account for the future, so too can nonprofits create a way to help ensure their future and continue their important work.

"We are immensely thankful to the visionary leadership of the Myrna Loy's founders who established an endowment to provide support for the long haul," said Krys Holmes, Executive Director of The Myrna Loy. "The annual distribution from this endowment is a critical part of financial planning and sustainability."

"Because of the wonderful support of our donors over the past 19 years, VCCF has been able to return $178,234 to Valley County," said Margareta (Maggan) Walstad, Valley County Community Foundation Treasurer. "This funding has supported over 100 projects. Our two scholarship funds have supported 29 students to date totaling $47,550. Our board is excited to continue to raise money for our community's savings account so that we can continue to fund quality projects and worthy students!"
Tax Reform and Smart Ways to Give in 2018

With recent tax reform, many philanthropic-minded people who once itemized their taxes will now be taking the expanded standard deduction in 2019 for the 2018 tax year. Those who are married and filing jointly will have an increased standard deduction amount of $24,000 (up from $13,000). Single taxpayers and those who are married and file separately now have a $12,000 standard deduction (up from $6,500). These same generous folks may be wondering if there are still ways to give that offer tax benefits.
  • Donate appreciated stock: With the stock market at or near all-time highs, gift your appreciated stocks/mutual funds to a nonprofit like Montana Community Foundation and eliminate capital gains tax. These assets can also fund gift annuities that qualify for the Montana Endowment Tax Credit.
  • Name your favorite charity as a beneficiary of retirement plan assets: These assets remain taxable when distributed to a loved one, but are tax-free when given to a nonprofit. This is a wonderful way to include charity in your estate planning.
  • Gifts of real estate: Many real estate markets are enjoying gains. Appreciated real estate may be subject to capital gains tax unless donated to charity or transferred to a charitable trust.
  • Give from your IRA (if age 70½ or older): Regardless of whether you itemize your taxes, this gift helps you fulfill your required minimum distribution and is not considered taxable income. This one deserves particular attention.
You can give up to $100,000 from your IRA directly to a qualified charity like MCF without having to pay income tax on the money you gift from your IRA. Your spouse can also give up to $100,000 from his or her IRA as well. This law no longer has an expiration date so you are free to make annual gifts to our organization this year and well into the future.

Some additional benefits? Your gift can be put to use today or help fund a permanent endowment, allowing you the flexibility of achieving your charitable goals for the near and long terms. If you have not yet taken your required minimum distribution for the year, your IRA charitable rollover gift can satisfy all or part of that requirement. "Bunching" Strategy: Donors can "bunch" their charitable contributions by giving larger amounts (oftentimes to a Donor Advised Fund) in one calendar year to exceed the newly increased standard deduction amount. Donors can then direct their charitable contributions over time, thus maintaining their charitable giving levels, schedules and increasing the tax benefit.

Please contact the Montana Office of Gift Planning to discuss any of the information contained in this article or to discuss other opportunities for making a difference in your community. Remember that with the Montana Endowment Tax Credit, donors receive a CREDIT on their Montana taxes whether or not they itemize on their federal taxes. A great benefit not to be missed!

*The information in this article is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor.
"You guys are it."

If you were wondering if your donation to the Montana Wildfire Relief Fund has made an impact, take a moment to watch and listen to Sand Coulee Volunteer Fire Chief Blake Brawley. #MontanaStrong

Scholarship Deadline Fast Approaching

The deadline for most of MCF's scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year is March 16. MCF  awarded more than $450,000 to 146 students through our scholarship program last year. 

Scholarship awards range from $500 to $5,000 to deserving students across Montana. Some scholarships are renewable for multiple years.  Scholarships are made possible by generous scholarship funds established by individual donors and organizations committed to giving back to their community.
To apply online, visit . For more information or questions, contact Scholarship Manager Jenny Lou Stark .
10 Questions for the Staff - Maggie Sullivan

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?
My official title is: Program Assistant for The Women's Foundation of Montana - I aid the Program Director of the Women's Foundation of Montana, Jen Euell, as well as help manage social media and the inner-workings of the PowerHouse Montana initiative.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
By far my favorite pastime is cycling - whether it be long endurance races, or just around the neighborhood. Any day I can be outdoors biking is a good day.

4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why? 
If I really had to choose another line of work, and there were no limitations, I would leap at the chance to be a professional cyclist. In a perfect world, my dream would be to race in the Tour de France (which remains a male-only event).

5. What's something not very many people know about you? 
Earlier this year I rode 130 miles in 9 hours - it was for RATPOD, a sponsored ride through the Pioneer Mountains, down near Dillon, Montana.

6. What are three things you can't live without? 
English Breakfast Tea, Fresh Air/Open Spaces, and a potent Under-Eye Cream.

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector? 
My mother, Amy Sullivan, has been involved in non-profit work for some time - originally, I was exposed through her, before taking on my own passions within the realm.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be? 
That charitable giving can happen at any age, any gender, any ethnicity, and most importantly, at any economic status - and that giving should be encouraged.

9. What's your favorite place in Montana? 
Fort Benton - right on the Missouri River. 

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans? 
It would have to be the sheer grandeur of our state. From the mountains, to the prairies, including places like Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park - Montana has it all.
Generosity at Work

In January, we distributed 65 grants totaling more than $82,000! (Montana Wildfire Relief Fund grants will be tallied in next month's Infinity and this total does not include our annual distribution of more than $2.8 million). To the donors, nonprofits, financial advisors, and many other partners and constituents we are so lucky to work with, THANK YOU for your generosity and amazing work throughout and in service to Montana!

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