Community Foundation shares tax strategies for donors

St. Marys, PA, January 2, 2020: The Community Foundation of the Northern Alleghenies, and its affiliates, the Elk County Community Foundation and the McKean County Community Foundation, are inspired by working with donors to help them create charitable strategies and legacy gifts that benefit both the donors and their community. Donors can take advantage of various tax strategies to make the most of their charitable giving.

These Community Foundations have resources to help donors do the most with their means, at whatever level they are comfortable sharing. In addition to making a difference in the community, charitable giving can have tax benefits that are well worth exploring.

One strategy is to celebrate your 70 ½ birthday in a special way. At this age you must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions from your IRA and paying taxes on that additional income. Fortunately, the IRS allows generous donors to direct all or a portion of their distribution (up to $100,000) to entities like the Elk County or the McKean County Community Foundation. Any gift made directly to the Foundation is excluded from your taxable income.

Another strategy is called “Bunching”.  In today’s tax environment, your charitable gifts may or may not be deductible on your tax return, depending on your ability to itemize in a given year. Charitable donations are deductible only if you itemize, which may be a less likely scenario for many taxpayers given today’s higher standard deduction. In 2020, the standard deduction will be $12,400 for individuals and $24,800 for married couples.

Taxpayers can benefit from the new tax law and get back some of the tax advantages of their charitable contributions by using Bunching. Essentially, this means combining perhaps several years’ worth of donations into a single tax year so that – along with your other deductions – you exceed the standard deduction. Then you’d take the standard deduction in the interim years.

Of course, bunching multiple contributions into a single year can feel daunting if you’re not sure how much you want to give and to whom. So to build some flexibility into your giving plan, you may wish to set up a donor-advised fund account at a community foundation, which allows you to donate a lump sum in the current tax year, invest the funds for future growth, and parcel out the money to qualified charities over time. The money can continue to appreciate once invested in a donor-advised fund account, which means the potential for even greater giving down the road.

The Community Foundation of the Northern Alleghenies is a nonprofit organization that manages endowed funds established by donors to benefit area nonprofit organizations. Donor gifts are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. For more information about donations, grant requests or other opportunities at the Foundation please contact them at 814-834-2125.

Women’s Giving Circle Initiates Membership Drive

Bradford, PA, Nov. 1, 2019:

Eighty-two women, committed to volunteerism and sharing, came together on October 10 to learn more about the new Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) of McKean County, a project of the McKean County Community Foundation.

“We are appreciative of the 58 women who joined our organization pledging more than $8,350 to support McKean County non-profit 501c3 organizations that implement programs focused on improving the lives of women and their families,” said Carol Duffy, co-chair of the organization.

“Any woman donating $100 or more is considered a voting member of the organization and will be a part of the grant selection process at our annual meeting next fall,” said Judy Bodamer, co-chair of the organization.  “But we need the help of more women in McKean County to reach or surpass our goal of 75 members,” she added.

The Annual Membership Year runs from October 1st to September 30th. Gifts can be made anytime within the Annual Giving Period from October 1st to June 1st. The grants that will be distributed in McKean County by the Women’s Giving Circle in the fall of 2020 will make a meaningful impact on women and their families.

To learn more about WGC or to become a member, go to www.mckeancountyfoundation.org or contact the McKean County Community Foundation at 844-238-2289.

PHOTO: Guest speaker at the inaugural Women’s Giving Circle event was St. Marys School teacher Ashley Kline.  Kline described two programs that were funded by the Elk County Women Who Care program, a similar program to the new McKean County Women’s Giving Circle:  Ruling Our Experiences empowerment program for girls that focuses on building healthy relationships, critical life skills and planning for a successful future; and the teacher-driven Food for Friends Backpack Program which provides food for weekend and holiday break meals to elementary school age children who would otherwise not have nutritious and adequate meals on non-school days.

WGC Committee Prepares for Event

The recently formed Women’s Giving Circle of McKean County (WGC) will hold a Membership Event from 7 – 9 p.m. on Oct. 10 at The Bradford Club, 32 Boylston St.  The Giving Circle was founded to strengthen the community by collectively addressing and supporting issues that are import-ant to women. The organization was established in January as a project of the McKean County Community Foundation.
The event is open to all women of McKean County who have an interest in joining the Women’s Giving Circle. Members may join with a commitment for any donor level. Those contributing at the $100 per year level or higher will be a voting member who may cast a ballot for an agency to be awarded the collective funds beginning in October 2020.
Paula Fritz Eddy, executive director of the McKean County Community Foundation believes giving circles go beyond individual “pet” charities to pool resources for a common goal with greater impact. “I believe that the success of this concept is that all members have a vote and input on where their pooled money will go,” explained Eddy.
“We are a diverse, dynamic and generous group of women engaged in an exciting venture of strategic philanthropy,” said Judy Bodamer, co-chair. “This is an ideal opportunity to make an impact by optimizing our time and targeting the resources of our members. We welcome members who are looking to become engaged in a purposeful way to help our communities.”
Donated funds will be awarded to a non-prof-it, municipality or religious organization within McKean County. Applications are avail-able online. Following submissions, the top organizations chosen will be submitted for a vote by the entire membership to make an annual award.
Those interested can RSVP by calling 814-834-2125 or emailing mccf@ mckeancountyfoundation.org. Reservations are appreciated by Monday, so the group can plan accordingly.
Co-chairs for the group are Judy Bodamer of Port Allegany and Carol Duffy of Smethport, while the event chair is Angela Erway.  For more information, visit the Women’s Giving Circle page on the McKean County Foundation website at www.mckeancountyfoundation.org or call 1-814-834-2125.

Women’s Giving Circle of McKean County holds Kick off Meeting

Women’s Giving Circle of McKean County holds kick-off meeting

For local women, everything that goes around comes around through their giving circle – caring, community and philanthropy. A group of charter members has been meeting since January to bring The McKean County Women’s Giving Circle to life. Twelve women have met to initiate the planning, development and implementation of a giving circle and will have an open membership meeting on October 10 as a countywide initiative.

“The opportunity to be part of a Giving Circle epitomizes the philosophy that what you give, you receive,” said Judy Bodamer, committee co-chair. “Being part of this group of women is a great opportunity to make a significant impact our communities. Our aim is to unite women from all backgrounds in each part of the county to join this movement.”

Giving Circles have grown significantly in popularity since the early 2000s when traditional donors recognized the value of not only pooling donations to make one significant donation, but also the social engagement that came with belonging to a philanthropic group. Giving Circles are particularly popular with young adults and those who want to learn about local services.

Most Giving Circles pool their financial resources and award funding through grants to non-profits or community improvement projects. Often applicants will have the opportunity to present information about their services and needs of the organization, creating both education and networking.

The impact of Giving Circles on organizations is more than monetary. The selection process brings attention to each applicant during review of the organization seeking funding. Members have the opportunity to ask in depth questions about services, needs and impact, before the entire membership votes to choose a recipient of funds.

“As a strong supporter of building a community-minded network, this organization was a natural fit for me,” said Carol Duffy, committee co-chair. “This is a unique opportunity for me personally to give back to my community. As members we have the added benefit of learning about amazing charities, about each other, and, in the end, about ourselves.”

Any woman donating to the WGC fund is considered a member. Those contributing $100 over the giving year, will be a voting member who can cast their ballot for the agencies they would like to see receive the pool of dollars from the collective donations.

The Women’s Giving Circle will hold a social and organizational meeting two times per year. Funds will be awarded in October, with 95% of the funds donated going directly to annual grants. Five percent of incoming funds will help to cover administrative expenses.

The Women’s Giving Circle is a project of the McKean County Foundation and coordinated by Paula Fritz Eddy, Executive Director. The foundation will manage the donations, awards and financial matters for the group.

“We wanted to make an immediate impact on the community,” said Eddy, “so we will give 85% of all donations right away and put 10% into an endowment fund to build for the bright future for our sisters in McKean County.”

The WGC Fund program will award monies to eligible 501(c)3 non-profits, municipalities or religious organizations. Each applicant is required to be a non-profit eligible organization and donations to the program may be tax deductible. The fund is maintained by the McKean County Community Foundation to reduce administrative costs and increase grant awards.

Bodamer explained that targeted projects may include new programs or the expansion of an existing program which benefits women directly or those who lives are impacted by women. She also noted that individuals who join giving circles typically give more and give more strategically due to the planned nature of the giving and the concept that each member engages in a thoughtful education experience before voting.

Steering committee members include Lisa Bizzaro and Judy Bodamer of Port Allegany, Pam Burlingame and Carol Duffy of Smethport, Sally Claypool and Lori Freer of Eldred, Angela Erway and Kathy Jones of Bradford, Kathy Gibson and Veronica Swanson of Kane and Linda Meyer of Mt. Jewett.

The McKean County Women’s Giving Circle will be welcoming new members at an Inaugural Event on October 10, 2019 at The Bradford Club. For more information visit the Women’s Giving Circle page on the McKean County Foundation website at www.mckeancountyfoundation.org or call 1-814-834-2125.

Northwest Bank Supports Community Foundation

Northwest Bank presents a generous pledge of $5,000 per year for the next three years to help with the operational cost of the McKean County Community Foundation, which is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Northern Alleghenies.  As a young organization, it is growing, and the support of Northwest Bank is greatly appreciated. “We realize the Foundation is just starting and we feel confident that the Community Foundation will grow and support the community for years to come” said Julie Marasco.

Community foundations are unique, grant-making public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined geographic area. The McKean County Community Foundation is a collection of many charitable funds each reflecting the diverse ways that people choose to help their community and support the causes that matter to them. Currently they have 20 individuals, families and businesses that have created funds.   “We help match donor desires with community needs,” Paula Fritz Eddy remarked.  “We are so grateful that Northwest Bank understands and supports the work we do,” Eddy continued.

The McKean County Community Foundation’s leadership is Robert Esch, as Board President and Rick Esch as Treasurer, and community members who make up the eleven-member Board. “Since the beginning we have focused on having representation from as many areas of the county as possible – Smethport, Port Allegany, Bradford, Eldred, Kane, Mount Jewett,” Robert Esch emphasized.  In addition to Bob and Rick the board members include: Sara Eddy Furlong of Lewis Run, Secretary; Tim Asinger of Bradford, Lori Freer of Eldred, Joe DeMott of Port Allegany, David Krantz of Bradford, Judy Bodamer from Port Allegany, Roni Swanson of Kane, Paige LaBrozzi of Bradford and Jim Evans of Bradford.

The Community Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to strengthen our region through development, stewardship and grant making as it works with donors to achieve their philanthropic goals. For more information, please call our office at 1-844-238-2289 or visit our website at www.mckeancountyfoundation.org.

Pictured Left to Right are: Richard Esch, Julie Marasco, Paula Fritz Eddy, Robert Esch