Infinity-Fall
October 2017
From Mary's Desk

Partnerships are everything. As we've continued to grow the Montana Wildfire Relief Fund with amazing partners like the Montana Television Network, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch/Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Carl and Kay Carbon, PureWest Real Estate, and many, many others, never has it been more apparent how critical partnerships are in everything we do and how fortunate we are to have so many wonderful partners in our work to ensure Montana's future.

Our donors are the most important partners we have. Whether they are making million dollar gifts to support the small town in Eastern Montana where they grew up, or sending us a check for $5 to support wildfire relief, the generosity of our donors is what makes the good work we do possible. THANK YOU!

The charitable organizations we grant to are the crucial partners we entrust with funding to make that good work happen. There are hundreds, if not thousands of causes these nonprofits are supporting and services they are providing. They understand where the needs are and make the commitment to meet those challenges with their time, treasure and talent.

A partner might be a local community foundation like the West Yellowstone Foundation, granting dollars into their local community to improve the lives of residents. Or perhaps it's someone like the Northwest Area Foundation, partnering with us to bring another $100,000 in funding to support social justice in Montana. Maybe it's a group of generous, likeminded women such as 100 Strong Billings, pooling their funds to make a positive impact. Or it could be an organization like the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, partnering with us to create a convening designed to bring together Montanans to understand unmet needs and how to meet them when our great state faces its next disaster.

Partnerships make the impossible possible. They allow us to use our strengths and rely on others' strengths in areas we don't have them. Partnerships help resources stretch further and ensure they're used most effectively. Partnerships are everything and if you're reading this now, it's likely you're a partner of MCF. YOU make what we do possible. YOU make Montana the place we love to call home. Thank you for your partnership.

Sincerely,
Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
10 Reasons a Community Foundation is a Good Bet for Disaster Relief

When you decide to donate your hard earned dollars to support disaster relief, you want to be certain of a few things. First, that the organization you're giving to is reputable. Second, that the money is going to be used for disaster relief and not some other purpose. Third, that all the money will be expended and your donation won't be subject to any fees if that's what the organization soliciting funds is offering.

Why though, would you choose a community foundation as the organization to give to when it comes to disaster relief? Here are 10 reasons to consider, originally published in Kris Putnam-Walkerly's article " 10 Ways Community Foundations Are A Best-Bet For Disaster Giving" in Forbes:

1. Community knowledge. Community foundations are rooted in the communities they serve, so they know firsthand of the needs following a disaster and the assets that can be deployed to respond.

2. Vetting. Community foundations are in the business of making effective grants to reputable nonprofits. They've done their homework so you don't have to.

3. Partners. Because they are truly community-grown institutions, community foundations are used to working in close partnership with other organizations. These relationships come in especially handy when multiple organizations must work together to recover from a natural disaster.

4. Leadership and Reputation. Community foundations are created by community members, which means they are usually among the most trusted institutions around. They are also considered leaders of the philanthropic community. They can use their leadership and reputations to help influence action among others, especially when disaster strikes.

5. Give any amount. Community foundations offer options for donors who wish to give any amount. Make smaller or one-time gifts to the community foundation's disaster relief fund, or consider a gift to an unrestricted fund that will allow the community foundation's board to determine the best use of charitable dollars. For larger or longer-term gifts, consider a donor advised fund from which you can provide direction on how grants are made. Community foundations also offer field of interest funds in which donors can leverage their gifts with those of others who share the same focus or priorities.

6. Immediate relief. Community foundations can mobilize targeted relief funds in short order, meaning gifts are deployed quickly to agencies that need them. And because of their community knowledge and connections, relief dollars from community foundations can easily adapt to the needs at hand, whether it's food, medical supplies, shelter or something completely unforeseen.

7. Long term strategic impact. Community foundations are created with a long-term view, which means even a short-term gift in the wake of disaster is helping move a community toward a longer-term vision and goals. Unlike some other charities, community foundations won't make a short investment and then move on. Instead, they'll be there to help bring community members together not only for short-term recovery, but to rebuild better than before.

8. Give here or there. Many community foundations across the country have developed disaster relief funds to lend aid to those outside their own service areas. Chances are, you can help those in other parts of the US or around the globe by making a gift to your local community foundation. You can also easily make gifts online to community foundations in affected areas.

9. Impact and accountability. Because community foundations are accountable to a number of donors and partners, they must be able to explain their approaches and demonstrate their impact.

10. Planning for the next time. In many cases, when communities gather to plan ahead for the next disaster, the community foundation is a leader in that effort, if not the convenor. And advance preparation is incredibly important to minimizing negative impacts of violent storms, wildfires, or other natural disasters.
When Cash Isn't King

We've all heard the saying "cash is king." Most of the time that's a fantastic rule of thumb. But sometimes cash isn't the best way to support your philanthropic endeavors. How can you tell? Here are three clues to keep you on the lookout for opportunities to get more bang for your giving back bucks.

1. If you're holding highly appreciated assets, such as stock or real estate, and you are also planning to make a significant gift to charity, consider giving the appreciated assets instead of cash. Why is that? Because assets like appreciated stock can be sold by the charity for 100 cents on the dollar--no capital gains tax applies. That means the charity ends up with more money to work with than you would if you sold that same asset yourself. 

2. If you want to support several charities all at once but have a single large asset you plan to give to the charities, consider using your donor-advised fund to facilitate the contributions. You can transfer the asset to the fund, get the tax benefits, have the asset converted to cash, and then allocate the proceeds to several different charities of your choice. 

3. Think outside the box, too. Giving something other than cash means contributing any asset you have that it is highly appreciated. Sometimes even artwork, jewelry, antiques, limited edition books, and other collections can be contributed to your donor-advised fund.

And, before you get worried it's too complicated, remember, giving anything to charity is worthwhile. Whether you are contributing stock, real estate, books, or even canned food from your pantry, it's all good! Every gift makes a difference! Learn more about different ways to give.
Don't Delay Your Giving

"Giving Season" has officially arrived. If you plan on making a gift to your favorite charity or charities, we encourage you not to delay until the end of the year. While many nonprofits spend more money in December on special events, they actually often have greater need for funding in the months leading up to December to plan those projects and cover costs that are often incurred in advance.

While a grant to a nonprofit is appreciated at any time of the year, making that grant or donation in October or November may be better than making it in December. It's also important to remember that nonprofits need our support throughout the year and if everyone waits until year end to make their grants and gifts, it can lead to shortages for nonprofits at other critical times.
 
We're always here to help you in your charitable giving and grantmaking to support Montana's nonprofits, so please don't hesitate to contact us if there's anything we can do!  
Montana Wildfire Relief Fund - Update and Next Steps

The Montana Wildfire Relief Fund (MWRF), a partnership between MCF and the Montana Television Network, has now grown to more than $450,000 through the extraordinary generosity of individuals, businesses, private foundations, and many others across the country.
 
The first of at least two grant cycles is now open. For the first cycle, applicants must be either 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 between $5,000 and $15,000. Only one application is allowed per organization.
 
Successful grantees will have the following characteristics:
  • Preference will be given to rural, volunteer fire departments or other organizations representing first response to fighting 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. Grant applications will be accepted through Nov. 10, 2017.

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. This cycle is scheduled to run November 11 through December 11, 2017.
Generosity at Work

Fourteen grants totaling nearly $160,000 makes for an incredible month of giving. Grants in September went to things like purchasing a 3D mammography imaging machine, helping schools, and supporting disaster relief. Thank you to the generous donors and amazing nonprofit organizations who are helping make Montana a better place for everyone.

If you want to put your generosity to work, visit the Giving section of our website to learn more.
Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy
STAY CONNECTED: