Giving Should Be Easy; The FM Area Foundation Can Help

Written by: Fargo Inc

FM Area Foundation donors Ron and Nancy Saeger with Executive Director Eric Wilkie
Photo by Josiah Kopp

When you think of giving, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s giving to your child’s school function, donating to your church or supporting local nonprofit. No matter the cause, giving back should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Since 1960, the FM Area Foundation has been inspiring people throughout the Red River Valley to give back to their communities and the causes they love. Throughout the FM Area Foundation’s existence, more than $61 million has been granted to charitable organizations from the 400 plus charitable funds they manage.

The FM Area Foundation helps donors maximize their philanthropy while simplifying the process. If you want to give back, but don’t know which organization to give to, or the best assets to gift, or the most tax effective way to make your gift, the FM Area Foundation can help. Their expert staff knows the Fargo-Moorhead community well, the work of local nonprofits, as well as giving strategies to drive local impact.

“We truly want to make being generous easy and rewarding, and we exist to help the citizens of our local communities create the most philanthropic place on the planet. A vibrant community full of opportunities for everyone is key to our region’s continued prosperity. If we can help connect your passion to a purpose, together, we’ll have greater impact on the place we call home,” said Eric Wilkie, Executive Director of the FM Area Foundation.

The FM Area Foundation offers personalized service when it comes to philanthropy. They offer seven different fund types, like donor advised funds, scholarship funds, field-of-interest funds, and a variety of giving vehicles. Charitable funds can be endowed, meaning they will exist forever, or set up as pass-through funds so more dollars go to work today.

“We established a donor advised fund to consolidate assets that will be used for charitable purposes. Doing so has management and tax advantages that make our dollars go further in helping others,” said Ron Saeger.

Ron and his wife, Nancy, established the Saeger Family Fund at the FM Area Foundation to benefit organizations working across the spectrum of social justice, human rights, education, cultural and conservation agencies serving our community, region, nation and world.

“There are many needs and worthwhile endeavors to meet them in our community and region. While we can only do so much as individuals, we can give financial support to nonprofits that will, in turn, help many more in many ways,” said Saeger.

The staff at the FM Area Foundation also work with donors and their financial advisors, accountants and estate planners to ensure their giving meets both their financial and philanthropic goals both now and for the future.

“It’s very important to my clients that their philanthropic giving

matches their values. The FM Area Foundation is a local, knowledgeable resource that can provide them with options and insight into the needs within our community, and they work closely with donors to find ways to give that reflects their goals,” said Sandy Korbel, Financial Advisor at Alerus.

Assets you might not typically think of can also make great charitable gifts, while providing tax benefits, such as real estate. Clarence and Mary Horsager recently donated 80 acres of farmland to establish a donor advised fund to support their favorite charities. “We are very pleased with how smoothly things went when donating farmland to the FM Area Foundation. We have also received appreciation responses from recipients of grants made from our donor-advised fund. We’re thankful for the Foundation’s excellent service,” said Clarence and Mary Horsager.

Making a charitable gift of real estate through the FM Area Foundation can help you turn your property gains into community good. The value of your real estate may exceed that of any other asset you own. Your gift may qualify for a tax deduction based
on its full market value and avoid the capital gains tax that would otherwise arise from the sale of the property. With gifts of real estate, your property gains translate into community impact, so you get a more rewarding return on a major asset.

“Don’t hesitate to contact the FM Area Foundation to learn about available options and how easy it is to establish a fund that will meet your needs. The staff is great and will professionally assist you in every way,” said Saeger.

The FM Are Foundation Staff (L to R) Michelle Johnson, Greg Diehl, Carrie Feigum, Lexi Oestreich, Eric Wilkie, Patty Mastel, Courtney Larson

Impact Investing

A new way of investing

Impact investing leverages more assets for good. The purpose of impact investing is to invest in projects that generate both a social and financial return. To date, the FM Area Foundation has put $1.4 million back into the Fargo- Moorhead area by investing in local projects focused on creating a vibrant community.

“Our local impact investing program represents a new and exciting opportunity to provide meaningful support to our community nonprofits in a different manner than a traditional grant. Our nonprofits are doing great work but sometimes lack the capacity to attract traditional financial support. We want to help fill the gap between hopes and reality by coming alongside our nonprofits to make a difference locally,” said Wilkie.

The following organizations have secured funding through the FM Area Foundation’s impact investing program to help carry out their mission related work:

Cass Clay Community Land Trust

A $200,000 loan to cover the subsidy cost of four affordable workforce homes in Fargo that will be owner-occupied by local families in the fall of 2021.

Emerging Prairie

A $200,000 loan is providing capital improvement dollars needed by Emerging Prairie to enhance the Prairie Den, a professional co-working space available for local entrepreneurs.

CAPLP – Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership

A $100,000 loan helped complete Lakes & Prairies’ down payment for an office in south Moorhead, which now houses two full-day, full-year Head Start classrooms, Child Care Aware staff and additional outreach and self-sufficiency services.

Rebuilding Together

A $600,000 loan to Rebuilding Together allowed their organization to build two twin homes that will provide affordable housing options in Fargo.

Soul Solutions Recovery Center

A $300,000 guaranty is helping Soul Solutions secure a five-year lease with Alliance Property Group.

Soul Solutions is a new nonprofit that will provide outpatient chemical dependency services to people in Fargo and the surrounding area.

These investments, once returned to the Foundation, will be re-used for other socially beneficial projects. The recycling of this capital into local projects generates positive outcomes year after year. The FM Area Foundation continues to develop this new program while simultaneously looking for more opportunities to invest.

What is a community foundation?

The FM Area Foundation is a community foundation. Community foundations are grantmaking public charities dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities.

Philanthropic Best Practices

The FM Area Foundation is accredited by the Community Foundations National Standards Board. The National Standards ensure the values of community foundations are demonstrated through their commitment to legal compliance, philanthropic best practices and excellence that benefits communities.

Donor Advised Funds

Donor advised funds are one of the fastest growing philanthropic planning tools in the marketplace. An individual or a family can make a tax-deductible transfer that qualifies as a charitable contribution, and then recommend grants to favorite charities. When you set up a donor advised fund at the FM Area Foundation, you work with the professional program staff identifying ways to use dollars from your fund to address the issues and needs you care about most.

Caring Catalog

Give back to the place you love

The holiday season is a great time to give, and the Caring Catalog offers
a central location for community members to view a wide variety of charitable projects helping to make the Cass-Clay area a more vibrant place to live.

“At the community foundation, we often get questions about the work being done by local charities, so in 2018, we created the Caring Catalog, an online, crowdfunding platform where area nonprofits can share their stories and community members can give to great causes doing amazing work locally,” said Wilkie.

The Caring Catalog has grown every year, both by number of nonprofits participating and dollars raised. Community members use the Caring Catalog as a resource to learn about the needs in the community and make tax-deductible donations.

The 2021 Caring Catalog runs November 29 through December 13.

There is no participation fee for nonprofits, credit card fees are covered by the FM Area Foundation and 100 percent of your gift goes directly
into the community through the participating charities. Gifts of all sizes are welcomed and appreciated.

“There are giving incentives available throughout the Caring Catalog— matching dollars, special drawings, social media contests and more thanks to our generous sponsors,” said Wilkie.

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Brady Drake is the editor of Fargo INC!