March 2017
From Mary's Desk

What Will Your Legacy Be?
Many years ago, my husband and I wrote our first wills. The birth of our daughter prompted us to think more deeply about the "what ifs" of life. That was an emotional experience for me because I faced the reality of my own mortality. Over the years, we've revised our wills as our life circumstances changed. Now we're at the stage of life where we are thinking bigger and more permanently. Have you thought about what your legacy will be?
When thinking about your legacy, think about what matters to you. The idea of leaving a legacy considers our human desire to be remembered for what we contributed to this world while we were here. For some people, the legacies left can be so special that this world is forever changed. For most of us, it means leaving a lasting footprint that reflects our values lived.
I hope my life matters in some way. I know my life matters to my family - especially my grandson, Soloman. And I believe my regular, though modest, financial support matters to the charitable organizations I help. Yet I know the causes I care about today would greatly appreciate receiving continued support long after I've left this world.
When thinking about your legacy, consider the people and causes that are important to you. How will you be sure the support you provide today will exist long after you're gone? Leaving a legacy is an important part of your life's work. A legacy develops from a life dedicated to self-reflection and purpose. Your legacy is putting your stamp on the future. It's a way to further demonstrate your contribution to the future. It can also be a way of providing an enduring source of financial support for those charities you care about.

Leaving the legacy you want does not have to be difficult or complicated. You can establish a named Donor Advised Fund during your lifetime which can then convert to a Donor Designated Fund upon your passing. The annual distribution from the Donor Designated Fund specifies which organizations forever benefit from your generosity. One fund can support many of the causes you care about, making it a simple way to help many. An important element of establishing such a fund is including your bio which can tell the story of you. Who you are, what mattered to you and why.
By partnering with Montana Community Foundation, you join thousands of others who care about Montana. FOREVER.
My life matters to Soloman. Just like I enjoy being part of his life today, I'll be part of his life after I'm gone. There are also causes that matter to me. I'm making sure the support I provide them today will be there for them long after I'm gone. Because this place matters to me. What will your legacy be?
We'd be happy to help you leave your legacy.
Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
Intermountain West Funder Network 2017 Convening

The Intermountain West Funder Network (IMWFN) is pleased to convene in 2017 on April 26 - 28 in Bozeman, Montana. 

The convening will begin with a half-day "learning from the place" site visit and a welcome reception and dinner on Wednesday, April 26th with guest speaker and author  Todd Wilkinson, followed by a full-day meeting and funder dinner on Thursday, April 27th, and a half-day meeting on Friday, April 28th (concluding by 12:00 pm MST).

The convening will explore a number of important strategies related to the theme, "Big Shifts: Local Solutions" on the transformative work happening at the local level to advance sustainable environmental and economic communities in the intermountain west. The agenda will be designed to reinforce the important role the philanthropic community plays to advance community-led solutions to social and ecological challenges across our western landscapes, and to plan for the road ahead. The agenda is being planned by funders for funders, and will include opportunities to learn from peers and from place.

SPECIAL INVITE from Hopa Mountain for a Funders Study Tour to the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations April 23-25, in advance of the IMWFN convening in Bozeman. Click  here for more information.

Wednesday, April 26th
* 1:30 - 5:30 p.m. Half-Day Site Visit
* 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Welcome Reception & Dinner

Thursday, April 27th
* 8:00 a.m. Breakfast Available in Meeting Room
* 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Full-Day Meeting, The Baxter Hotel
* 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Funder Reception & Dinner

Friday, April 28th
* 7:30 a.m. Breakfast Available in Meeting Room
* 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. About the IMWFN (optional)
* 8:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Half-Day Meeting, The Baxter Hotel

For more information on the schedule, convening highlights, registration, and travel information, please click on the  following link to view the  IMWFN 2017 Convening Invite.
New Digs

We're all settled into our new Helena office! We're just about a block south on the Walking Mall from our old location. We plan on holding an open house this spring, so watch for more on that to come. Here are a few photos of our new space!

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.

Make Tax Season Less Taxing

It's that time of year when many of us are gathering up mountains of documents, searching through online accounts and desperately trying to find those missing receipts. It's tax season. 

Whether you do your taxes yourself or take them to a professional, we all want to ensure we receive the most deductions and credits possible.

If your bottom-line wasn't what you were hoping this year and you either owed money or didn't get the refund you expected, the  Montana Endowment Tax Credit  is something you should take advantage of. This gives you a credit of 40% of a qualifying planned gift's federal charitable deduction, up to a maximum of $10,000 per year, per individual. 

What does that look like in the real world?

Let's say a planned giving donor 60 years of age creates a deferred gift annuity with an initial gift of $10,000. This results in an $8,310 charitable deduction and a $3,324 Montana Endowment Tax Credit. That's $11,634 in deductions and credits, a total more than the value of the original gift. Annuity payments begin within life expectancy (12/31/35) of $500 per year for the remainder of the donor's life. 

After five years, the donor can choose to relinquish future annuity payments and will receive another smaller tax deduction. The money will then be paid out to the charity or charities of the donor's choice. Or if not relinquished, upon death, the remainder (which has been growing through investment) goes to the charity or charities of the donor's choice. That could be your local animal shelter, church, senior center, a museum or park, schools or any number of other local needs you'd like to support.

Don't let the tax season blues strike again next year!  Contact us today to learn more about taking advantage of the Montana Endowment Tax Credit!

*The information in this article is not intended as legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, please consult your attorney and/or tax professional. These calculations are for illustration purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting, or other professional advice. Your actual benefits may vary depending on several factors including your age and size of your gift.
Generosity at Work

Worthy nonprofit organizations around Montana received a total of $75,000 through 21 grants in February. These grants supported a volunteer fire department, environmental causes, education, veterans, social justice, a community library, humane society and more. 

Our thanks to these deserving nonprofits for the work they're doing across Montana and to the generous donors helping make that work possible.

If you want to put your generosity to work, visit the Giving section of our website. 
10 Questions for the Board - Greg Hanson

We're back to sharing some insights about board members since we've had a few more join us. 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?
I spent my early childhood years in Nevada and Washington D.C. (Dad was with the US Forest Service). I attended high school, college and law school in Missoula. After law school, I spent some time in Los Angeles while in the Air Force. I returned to Missoula to practice law and spent the next 45 years in private practice there.

2. What's your "real" job outside the foundation?
I'm now retired from the practice of law.

3. What's your favorite hobby/what do you do with your free time?
I spend my free time fly fishing until the cold weather arrives, then spend several days per week skiing at Discovery near Philipsburg. My wife and I also enjoy traveling to visit our children and grandchildren.

4. If you had to choose a different profession, what would it be and why?
I enjoyed the practice of law and never considered another profession.

5. What's something not very many people know about you?
I enjoy training retrievers and used to compete in field trials with my dogs.

6. What are three things you can't live without?
My family, my dogs and fly fishing!

7. How did you first get involved in the nonprofit sector?
During my working career, I had the opportunity to serve on the Boards of many nonprofit organizations. It's a great way to give back to the community.

8. If there was one thing you wanted people to know about MCF, what would it be?
In my relatively short time on the Board, I've been impressed with the quality and commitment of the staff and the other Board members. It's a vibrant organization and it's doing great work for Montana.

9. What's your favorite place in Montana?
Whichever river I'm fishing on that day! And there are so many choices.

10. What's your favorite thing about Montana/Montanans?
The friendliness and concern for others demonstrated by a vast majority of Montanans.
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