September 2018
From Mary's Desk

Like many Montanans who have the privilege of serving the entire state, last week I drove over 1,200 miles. From Red Lodge to Great Falls, to Missoula and Colstrip, it was a busy week on the road. I met with donors, elected officials, local community foundation representatives, and foundation funders - a broad group of people all committed to Montana. All of this windshield time gives me time and space to think deeply. When I reflect on that week full of meetings, convenings and gatherings - the groups were diverse, and on the surface, their purposes equally diverse. Ultimately, however, everyone's purpose was actually the same: philanthropy.
"Democratizing philanthropy" is a phrase that's been around for a few years and people use it in different ways. As I think about my week traveling though, the phrase and MCF's own interpretation of it keep coming to mind. No matter what, these folks all have something in common. They share a passion for Montana, and are dedicated to directing their philanthropy for the benefit of current and future generations here.
Effecting change in a positive way through philanthropy doesn't depend on the size of your pocket book. That's part of what is so incredible about community foundations; we help people find creative ways to be philanthropists, regardless of their wealth. Together, we have the power to endow Montana with charitable dollars that will last forever, ensuring the state we love remains so for generations to come.
Any of us can be a philanthropist and I'm so grateful to see the truth behind those words as I travel the state.

Mary K. Rutherford, MA, CFRE
President & CEO 
Thank You for Attending!

Our 9th Annual Local Community Foundation Convening - "Connecting the Dots: Building Resilient Communities" was a great success thanks to your attendance and participation. Thank you for joining us and thank you to our amazing group of speakers for sharing their time and wisdom.
Want to live longer? Consider a Charitable Gift Annuity
by Nick Dietzen, Planned Giving Officer

Yes, it's true. On average, Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) donors live longer than the general public based on studies conducted by the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA).

Now that we have your attention, forget that fact for now. We will come back to it later.

First, let's learn a little bit more about the world of charitable gift annuities, why the first rate increase from the ACGA since 2012 is a good thing, and how to determine if a charitable gift annuity might be a great tool for you and your philanthropic goals.

"What is a charitable gift annuity (CGA)?"
CGAs are the gifts that keep on giving. Literally. CGAs are contracts between donors and their favorite charity(ies) in which the donor receives a guaranteed income stream in return for an upfront gift of cash or appreciated assets (like stocks and mutual funds). The charity receives what is left over from the initial gift after the donor passes away or decides they do not need the income stream.

"This sounds great, but I don't like annuities."
These are CHARITABLE gift annuities, which are different than typical annuities. Gift annuities have been around for years. They act as a tool for wealth protection and are a conservative piece of a financial picture due to the nature of guaranteed payments.

Many investors and donors have a negative association with annuities, which is sometimes justified. Why? Commercial annuities were recommended as a wealth creation tool, rather than a wealth protection option, and brokers were incentivized by financial institutions to sell these products.

Whatever your opinion on annuities, charitable gift annuities are truly a different breed. In addition to setting up a charitable gift and receiving life income, there are substantial tax benefits to charitable gift annuities. Not only is a portion of the gift tax-deductible due to its charitable component, but also in Montana, we have a unique tax credit available to donors who make planned gifts to qualified endowments.

CGAs are planned gifts and CGAs that benefit endowments at the Montana Community Foundation are eligible for the tax credit!

"Okay, sounds pretty great, but I don't need income."
Not all CGAs are created equal. Many donors choose to defer income payments into the future and in return, they receive greater tax benefits. CGAs provide great flexibility and can benefit most donors, while offering a unique opportunity for donors to receive a valuable tax credit if they pay income tax in Montana.

"Isn't a rate increase a bad thing?"
Most conversations around rate increases or "rate hikes" are not viewed favorably by the average individual, but CGA rate increases are a good thing that result in higher life income payments which increases the attractiveness of gift annuities.

"I'm interested in learning more, what do I do now?"
Contact the Montana Office of Gift Planning and we will be happy to discuss any questions or run a personalized gift illustration so you can see what a CGA would look like for you personally.

Additional information on CGAs and the increased annuity rates can be found here.

Remember, while your doctor may not prescribe a CGA to live longer, we can guarantee a CGA to an endowment will benefit your favorite charity forever and your charitable legacy will endure.

Cheers to long lives and charitable legacies!
Nonprofit Spotlight: Opportunity Resources, Inc. (ORI)
Supporting Persons with Disabilities in Enhancing Their Quality of Life

Barclay is a client-advocate member of Opportunity Resources Board of Directors. For nearly 10 years, he has worked productively on an ORI janitorial crew. The freedom and confidence he gains from his job forms the foundation for his other activities-singing in the Missoula Community Chorus, acting at the Missoula Children's Theater, volunteering at the Missoula Food Bank, to name a few. With the support of ORI's programs and dedicated staff, Barclay's aspirations became achievable life goals. His story is one of the many stories of independent productive lives enabled by ORI. 

Since incorporating as Opportunity School Foundation in 1955, ORI has pioneered the empowerment of individuals with disabilities on many societal fronts-employment, housing, education, and community integration. ORI supports a wide spectrum of individuals with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities; and also includes veterans in need of services. 

ORI's EmployAbilities Program has been placing individuals with disabilities, like Barclay, in community-based jobs for 30 years-providing training and services that enable individuals to gain and maintain fulfilling employment in today's market. Currently, over 250 individuals with disabilities are working in local businesses. 

As an organization, we believe that everyone has the right to live in a home of their choice so many of ORI's 250 Direct Support Professionals support individuals living in their own homes. For those needing 24-hour care, ORI owns and operates eight residences. 

ORI also provides recreational, educational, and social activities such as exercise class, arts and crafts, computer activities, cooking class, drum circle and music and dance activities. We know that community involvement enhances the quality of life for our clients, and the Choices Program also promotes access to a wide range of community events and activities.  

ORI's Artists of Opportunity program is crafted to develop the unique artistic gifts held by many individuals with disabilities through exposure to acrylic painting, digital art, and three-handed pottery. The artists continually win highly competitive awards and currently have over 200 paintings on public display throughout Missoula. All profits from the sale of their art are paid to the individual artists. 

In addition to program services, ORI's Empowerment Fund provides small grants to individuals for needs not covered by organizational programs. Since its inception in 2014, the Empowerment Fund has approved over 250 grants.

Opportunity Resources continues to meet the growing challenge of supporting Western Montana's individuals with disabilities due to its dedicated staff and volunteer leadership, and the support of committed donors and community partners. Critical to ORI's sustained ability to do so is the growth of the ORI Endowment Fund, created to invest in the organization's long-term impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities struggling to attain the quality of life they deserve.  
Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative Launches Website

MCF is proud to be a part of the Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative (CFPAI), which includes more than 115 community foundations in 48 states working to educate the public about how we're improving communities.  

We help lawmakers understand the vital role that community foundations play in their communities, whether they represent a big city, small town, or rural area. We also work with the media to help them gain information about community foundations as they cover topics such as philanthropy, tax policy, and social change. Our goal is to ensure community foundations continue to transform lives for decades to come.

CFPAI has launched a new website we hope you'll visit, share and learn about how community foundations are making a positive impact across the country.
Generosity at Work

R.J. Doornek, Chair of the Board of Directors at Western Bank of Wolf Point (left), Barbara Olson, Chair of Bigger Sky Kids Program Committee, and Duane Kurokawa, President of Western Bank of Wolf Point (right).
Fifteen grants totaling more than $50,000 went out in August to great nonprofits across the state. One of those organizations was Bigger Sky Kids in Wolf Point, who received $10,334 at the recommendation of the Endowment Advisory Committee appointed by the Board of Directors of Western Bank of Wolf Point. The grant will be used to support Bigger Sky Kids' Program Coordinator position, recently filled by Rhonda Mason, an Air Force veteran and award-winning teacher with a Master of Education degree from Montana State University.

Bigger Sky Kids sponsors after-school, art-based instruction and provides a safe place for children to participate in program activity. By gathering teachers and artists representing a wide range of talent and ensuring they have essential resources, they enable kids in their community to  explore and express their creativity through visual arts, music, drama, and more. They also learn to  master domestic arts such as cooking, sewing, and gardening, and  acquire computer literacy and other life skills .

Thank you to Bigger Sky Kids and the many other Montana nonprofits for the great work they're doing in their communities and to the generous donors who make it possible!

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