November 2017
From Mary's Desk

Philanthropy in Montana represents a diverse range of people. This certainly holds true when it comes to our political beliefs. Normally, we don't get involved in politically-charged issues. However, when the well-being of Montana is at stake, we must speak out.

National legislation threatens the Montana we know and love. Recently, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act out of committee and sent it to the Senate floor for a vote by the full chamber. As written, the bill contains a number of provisions that would both directly and indirectly harm charitable giving. If this legislation passes, it will be detrimental.

While the Senate bill maintains the charitable deduction, by increasing the standard deduction, changing marginal income tax brackets and moving the estate tax trigger level to $10 million, it would lead to a significant decrease in charitable giving and what is likely a disastrous outcome for the nonprofit sector and the many people we serve. A recent study by the Tax Policy Center estimates that H.R. 1 -- which contains many of the same provisions as the Senate bill -- would decrease charitable giving by $16-$24 BILLION over the course of a year. Additionally, the Joint Committee on Taxation analysis of H.R. 1 finds that charitable deductions will decrease by $95 billion from current law, an almost 40% reduction.

Montana Community Foundation's purpose and commitment is to ensure the future of this wonderful place we all love to call home. We believe this tax reform legislation in its current form threatens that future. We also believe that positive, common sense tax reform can be accomplished without provisions that damage philanthropy. Join us in making your voice heard in Washington by opposing this harmful legislation.

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
Welcome and Farewell

We are so pleased to welcome two new board members to MCF - Ed Eck and Bryson Pelc. 

Mr. Eck, Professor Emeritus of the University of Montana School of Law, has taught courses concerning wills, trusts, charitable trusts, and taxation, including charitable tax planning for donors. He served as dean of the school for 14 years. More recently, Ed retired as a Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Tim Fox. Ed's focus was the supervision of nonprofit corporations and charitable trusts.
Eck is a Uniform Law Commissioner and was on the drafting committee of the Uniform Trust Code. He chaired a 31-person committee of Montana trust officers and lawyers who proposed the Uniform Trust Code to the Legislature in 2013.
Eck also served in the part-time position of Trust Director of the Montana Mental Health Care Trust. In 2013, AG Fox named him interim trustee of the newly-created Montana Healthcare Foundation, which was formed after the sale of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana.
Eck's prior public service includes the IRS Oversight Board. Under the sponsorship of Senator Max Baucus, President George W. Bush nominated Ed, and, after confirmation by the U.S. Senate in 2008, Ed served a 5-year term.

As a CPA with Jordahl & Sliter, PLLP, Bryson Pelc specializes in income tax planning and preparation for corporations, S-corporations and partnerships as well as individuals, trusts and estates. He is experienced in a wide array of industries including Construction and Real Estate, Healthcare and Financial Institutions. His passion is to guide small businesses and their owners through the complex environment of income tax planning and compliance.
Bryson serves on the Board of Foy's to Blacktail Trails, and is a committee member on the City of Kalispell Revolving Loan Fund.
Born and raised in Helena, Bryson was a student-athlete at Carroll College and a captain of the 2007 Football National Championship team. He went on to the University of Montana and earned his Master of Business Administration degree. After working in Helena for 9 years, he, his wife Rachel and two children relocated to the Flathead Valley.

We are also incredibly sad to say farewell to Mary Craigle, who served on the MCF board from 2007 to 2017. Mary will be sorely missed. She has played a critical role at MCF for a decade and every facet of the organization is better as a result of her leadership, expertise, friendship and most importantly, great love of Montana and its people. We love you and will miss you Mary - don't be a stranger!
Montana Wildfire Relief Fund - Grant Cycle Update

The Montana Wildfire Relief Fund (MWRF), a partnership between MCF and the Montana Television Network, has now grown to nearly $530,000 through the extraordinary generosity of individuals, businesses, private foundations, and many others across the country.
The first grant cycle is now closed. The second grant cycle opened Nov. 11 and will close on Dec. 11.

For the second grant cycle, applicants must be either a charitable organization (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit), an exempt governmental unit or, if neither, provide a fiscal sponsorship agreement with an organization who is a 501(c)(3) or exempt governmental unit. Grants will be up to $15,000. Only one application is allowed per organization. 

Successful grantees will have the following characteristics:
  • Preference will be given to organizations that provide(d) direct relief to individuals affected by the wildfires in Montana in 2017.
  • Provide a direct benefit to Montana residents.
  • Do not support projects, programs, or activities that are partisan or sectarian.
Grant requests are reviewed by a grants committee comprised of MCF staff and board members, nominated members of Montana communities affected by wildfires, fund partners, and wildfire experts from government agencies and other qualified organizations. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Apply here.
Taking Care of Business

On November 9 and 10, the MCF Board of Directors gathered in Billings for the Annual Meeting. Our sincere thanks to First Interstate Bank for hosting us and also to the Association of Fundraising Professionals - Montana Chapter for putting on their wonderful National Philanthropy Day event which we were so happy to sponsor and attend.
Building Together

There's really no better way to strengthen a team than having them get their hands dirty and do some hard work for a good cause together. 

The MCF team joined forces with the Helena Area Habitat for Humanity to help remodel the basement of the Restore. This area will primarily be used as a classroom and wood shop in support of CTI YouthBuild Helena, an amazing program that gives high school dropouts a second chance at their future by providing a program designed to promote education, leadership, construction training, and community service. 
Generosity at Work

In October, 29 grants were made totaling more than $40,000. Thank you to the generous donors who made this giving possible and to the hardworking nonprofit organizations that continue to help make Montana the place we all love to call home!

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