The Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way and the Fort Dodge Public Library Foundation are working together to foster greater philanthropic support for the Fort Dodge Public Library. A library is no longer a passive repository of books and information or an outpost of culture, quiet and a calm in a noisy world. The library of today is an active and responsive part of the community; an agent of progress that provides all people equal access to information, ideas and knowledge through books, programs and other resources. It offers people the enjoyment of reading and the opportunity for lifelong learning. In addition, the Internet, which some thought would wipe out a Library's reason for existence, is very often cited as one of the things that brings people to the library.
A public library is a crucial community asset and quality of life amenity that needs public support, which is the purpose of the Public Library Foundation. The purpose of a community foundation is to be a catalyst for charitable giving to advance quality of life in its community. This is the perfect partnership.
Our Fort Dodge Public Library nurtures learning and enriches the lives of everyone in our community, regardless of age or economic circumstance. With the help of many generous people, the Fort Dodge Public Library Foundation funds significant collection enhancements for the children and adults who visit the Library. This philanthropic support helps patrons enjoy the world of reading, explore new ideas, improve their lives and enjoy a unique sense of community. The Fort Dodge Public Library Foundation is key to the unique partnership between government support and generous citizens - a partnership that is essential to its long-term success. In May, the board of directors of the Fort Dodge Public Library Foundation voted unanimously to partner with the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way. On July 1, management of the funds will move under the "umbrella" of the Community Foundation, which will also provide administrative and marketing support for the Fort Dodge Library Foundation.
Pam Bunte, president of the Library Foundation board stated, "Our Foundation board sees this transition as a 'win-win' opportunity. Partnering with the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way to help us grow our endowment and advance philanthropic giving to the Public Library Foundation just makes good sense."
Through this new partnership, the Fort Dodge Public Library Foundation will continue its work to advance its mission of supporting the Public Library while taking advantage of services provided by the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way. The Community Foundation is able to handle gifts of publicly traded and closely held securities, real estate, life insurance and other types of gifts, and can provide the expertise needed to receive these types of gifts into the Public Library Foundation Fund. In addition, the Community Foundation can promote and provide technical assistance on planned giving options for donors on the use of remainder trusts, lead trusts, gifts by bequest and other endowment-building techniques. The Fort Dodge Public Library Foundation will also be able to take full advantage of the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program, which provides a significant tax advantage for people interested in making a donation to the Public Library's endowment fund. Recognized nationally as an innovative program for advancing community-based philanthropy, the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program provides a wonderful incentive for citizens interested in giving back to their communities to support important charitable organizations and causes. The Endow Iowa tax credit is 25 percent of the amount of the endowed charitable gift.
The state of Iowa offers this incentive because it understands the value of philanthropy in Iowa and how it can help sustain and grow nonprofit organizations including libraries, museums, churches, schools, health organizations, nonprofit organizations, youth development organizations, as well as other quality-of-life amenities like parks, trails, public gardens, recreational venues, etc. In the next decade, according to research by the Iowa Community Vitality Center at Iowa State University, more than $1.78 billion of wealth will pass from one generation to the next just in Webster County. If just 10 percent of this wealth was used to provide community-minded charitable support, that would equate to $178 million dollars. This is why the Iowa Legislature is so supportive of the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program. Since its inception in 2003, more than $15 million in tax credits from the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program have leveraged more than $75 million in private, charitable investment into endowment funds at community foundations in Iowa.
Endow Iowa expands
A very unusual occurrence took place recently in the Iowa Legislature with support of the governor's office. The members of the Iowa House and Iowa Senate all voted in favor of increasing state of Iowa tax credits for the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program. Not one senator or representative voted against this bill.
On May 12, Senate File 302 was passed. That raised the base amount of the Endow Iowa tax credit program by $800,000. The increase will provide approximately $4.5 million in Endow Iowa tax credits annually. This addition to the base amount of credits available is a tremendous incentive for taxpayers to leverage more than $18 million per year in permanent endowment funds established at community foundations. These endowment funds will support many kinds of charitable projects and nonprofit organizations statewide for years to come.
On May 12, I had the privilege of attending the governor's bill signing that expanded the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program by $800,000, which was an opportunity to join other community foundation representatives from across Iowa to celebrate this support of philanthropic giving. The executive director of the Iowa Council of Foundations, Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, who attended the signing said, "This additional support will continue the vibrant and important work of endowment building all across the state, which will have a long-term impact on the quality of life in Iowa."
The Endow Iowa Tax Credit program motivates individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and businesses to work with community foundations to establish permanent funds to support important organizations and community causes in Iowa. Charitable gifts to a qualifying community foundation are eligible for a 25 percent state tax credit in addition to the federal tax deductions. This new partnership between the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way and the Fort Dodge Public Library will expand the opportunity for people to support the Public Library and receive an attractive 25 percent tax credit for doing so.
For more information on the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program or how one can support the Fort Dodge Public Library Foundation, please contact me at the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way, 573-3171.
Randy Kuhlman is chief executive officer of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way.