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Winter 2020
Issue 11 | Vol. 1

The Source is published quarterly by the Minnesota Planned Giving Council

Save the Date: Member Happy Hour  

Wed., April 15 | 4:30 to 6:30

Beer, wine and light appetizers

2225 West River Road North

This is a free membership event to network, tour and learn about one of our member organizations, LifeSource. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce a colleague to MPGC.

Watch your email for an invitation to RSVP!

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MPGC Career Center

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The Minnesota Planned Giving Council group is a great way to share news, job postings and reach other members.

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Message from the Chair

By: Dana Holt
Chair, Minnesota Planned Giving Council

Dear MPGC membership,

Hello and Happy New Year! I am overjoyed and honored to be serving as your MPGC Board Chair for 2020 and 2021. The next two years are going to be exciting! I can’t wait for you to experience all the new things our volunteers are working to bring you.

First, we are proud to partner with MIA as host for the 2020 MPGC Annual Conference.

If you’ve ever visited MIA, you know the space is beautiful and the location is right in the center of town. We will be able to accommodate a much larger group of attendees and enjoy an entirely new conference experience. Thank you to our marvelous conference committee for making this happen!

Second, MPGC has embarked on a complete re-branding and re-messaging process. It has been many, many years since we’ve explored how our brand helps us to achieve our mission. It is time to re-visit how we talk about this great organization so that we can attract even more exceptional members and offer even greater service to you. It is time to re-fresh our visual appearance, so that it reflects who we are as an organization today. You will see a brand-new MPGC look and feel as early as this summer!

Lastly, I want to thank my fellow board members and all the volunteers who make MPGC the biggest and best planned giving council in America! You have worked tirelessly for decades to get us to this point where we can take the organization to even greater heights.

Thank you for your membership! You make our mission happen. Please consider taking your membership to the next level and join our exceptional team of volunteers!

I look forward to seeing you at an MPGC event very soon!

All my best,

Dana J. Holt, JD AEP® CAP®

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Save the Date:

MPGC 44th Annual Conference – New Location!
When: October 28 – 29, 2020

Where: Minneapolis Institute of Art
More details coming soon!

Call for Presentations: The conference typically attracts 200-250 development professionals, including planned giving professionals, attorneys, financial planners, accountants, and trust officers representing more than 150 organizations from across the country. Learn more about the types of presentations we are looking for and submit your session here. Deadline for submissions is March 26, 2020 at 5:00 pm CST.

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Save the Dates for MPGC 2020 Breakfast Meetings and Education Programs

Plan to join MPGC at the Town and Country Club for the 2020 Breakfast Meetings and Education Programs! Registration and more information about the March program will be available soon.



Town and Country Club
300 N Mississippi River Blvd
St Paul, MN 55104
View on Google Map

March 18 Breakfast Meeting & Education Program

Registration now available!


Breakfast Meeting
How to Empower Woman to Give Gifts Bigger Than You Ever Thought Possible
Featuring Jenny Norris Peterson, Norris Peterson Consulting

Education Program Session

Transfer of Wealth - Women and Generational Changes
Featuring Moderator Chris Farrell, StarTribune & MPR
Kim Borton, InFaith Community Foundation
Susie Brown, Minnesota Council on Foundations
Mara Milne, GIVING WoMN

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Hargroves Mentorship Program 

Participants in the newest cohort of MPGC’s Hargroves Mentorship Program gathered for a breakfast meeting at the Louisiana Café in St. Paul on February 4th to kick off the 2020 program. This annual professional development opportunity for MPGC members, named in honor and memory of the late Gary Hargroves, is now in its fourth year, and pairs experienced mentors with mentees seeking to learn more about planned giving and major gift development. 

Pictured in the photo (clockwise from lower left): Richard Olson, Matt Haar, Kathryn Tjaden, Susan Hommes, Mike Johnson, Chuck Semrow, Anne Dresen, Tara Lashley, Mariah Brook, Sara Shaw Meyer, Jane Townsend, Joe Thiegs, Jennifer Berges, Joe Kolar, and Frank Robertson. Also in attendance but not pictured:  Michael McMahon, Susan Murray, and Tessa Boury.

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We Want Your Feedback!

MPGC is continually looking for ways to improve and bring more value to your membership. One way we do this is through our annual survey to all members via email to gather valuable feedback. This survey helps guide everything from content at the annual conference and breakfast programs to new ways we can serve your needs. Your participation is vital to our success. 

Please watch your inbox in February and take a moment to provide your thoughts. It is important we hear from our members!

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Support MPGC through Sponsorships!

Do you know a local firm, industry organization or potential collaborator that would benefit from connecting with MPGC? MPGC relies on support from generous sponsors to continue educating and providing networking opportunities to our members supporters and wider philanthropic community. 

Here’s where you can help! The Sponsorship Committee wants your ideas as they reach out to potential sponsors. Sponsorships can be tailored for the level of desired exposure to MPGC’s membership at events and in publications. Please email any and all ideas to committee members Sheryl Morrison ( and Inez Bergquist (, and stay tuned for our 2020 Sponsorship Prospectus which will be hot-off-the-press in the coming weeks.

Join the MPGC Sponsorship Committee
The MPGC Sponsorship Committee is looking for volunteers to support their annual and event sponsorship outreach efforts. Duties include: 

  • Identifying key organizations as potential prospects
  • Contacting potential and past supporters
  • Making an impact for MPGC

The committee meets via conference call on a monthly basis. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to the MPGC office at

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Knowledge is Power Planned Gifts!

Are you or your office in need of planned giving 101? If so, the Minnesota Planned Giving Council’s A Brisk Walk Through the Basics of Planned Giving © was made for you. This enriching, one-day offering leads participants through the nuts and bolts of planned gift instruments. Each participant receives Craig Wruck's Planned Giving in a Nutshell to complement course instruction.

Participants will leave this seminar:

  • Understanding basic planned giving methods and their tax implications
  • Learning to identify which gift vehicle(s) work best for a particular donor
  • Hearing “best practices” from experienced planned gift officers and fellow participants

Choose the offering that works best for you, your schedule and your budget:

Brisk Walk OfferingWhenCost
Brisk Walk at the MPGC Annual ConferenceOctober 2020Early Registration: $200
Standard: $225
Brisk Walk at Your LocationFlexible$1,200; covers up to 20 participants (additional $45/person over 20)
Brisk Walk OnlineFlexibleMembers: $295
Non-members: $325

To learn more about Brisk Walk or to sign up for a course, please visit the MPGC website at:

Frankly Speaking – A Guest Column for The Source
By: Frank Robertson, MPGC member



As any seasoned development professional knows, stewarding the gifts your organization receives is a very important part of the job. For planned gifts, however, thoughtful and sustained stewardship is absolutely essential! This is true, not only because “your best prospects are your current donors,” but also because many planned gifts may be modified or even revoked over time, should the donor perceive that the benefiting organization is inattentive to their needs or, in the worst case, ungrateful for their future gift commitment.

Once in a great while I have heard of organizations that do not place a high value on revocable planned gifts. The argument is that these are “fantasy gifts” because no irrevocable asset transfer has occurred, and therefore donors do not merit recognition at the same level as those who have made outright gifts. This is patently wrong. In my experience, very rarely does a future gift fail to materialize - especially if that gift is properly stewarded. In my office, we also treated “unknown bequests” (where no dollar value was stated) the same as if they were six-figure gifts, because in many cases, they were just that! Without question, major outright gift donors should be recognized and stewarded at the highest level. However, care must also be taken that a planned gift donor does not perceive that the organization is treating their gift at a lesser value simply because it will not be available for use until after their death.

Most organizations have legacy societies that recognize donors of planned gifts, both revocable and irrevocable. Many organizations also have annual dinners or luncheons where new donors are recognized and welcomed, and where long-standing donors, as well as new donors, may be thanked.  Never miss an opportunity to say “thank you,” and if this comes from your CEO or board chair at an event, so much the better. The added benefits of donors associating with peers, and becoming energized by reports of the current good work of the organization, cannot be overstated. I can even recall many occasions where I was approached by a donor at our annual recognition dinner with a request for a new gift annuity illustration, an announcement of an increase to their bequest or an outright gift!

Because of the nature of planned gifts, particularly gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts, the birth dates of donors are known. Birth dates, though not required, can also be captured in commitment statements for bequests and beneficiary designations. This will permit you to send annual birthday cards to each donor as another opportunity to thank them for their future gift commitment. There is no substitute for quality birthday cards that are hand-signed and include a personal message. Over the years, I recall several senior donors who told us (sadly) “yours was the only birthday card I received!” Recognition items and “leave behinds” may also be appreciated by some donors, and will serve to remind them that their gift is important to your organization. Finally, when a planned gift is “realized” at the death of the donor, their gift should also be recognized by the organization at the appropriate outright giving level, because… has become an outright gift!

Frank RobertsonAbout the Author
Frank Robertson is an MPGC member and the 2018 recipient of the Clinton A. Schroeder Distinguished Service Award. Frank began his 22-year career at the University of Minnesota as alumni relations director and development officer in the College of Science and Engineering. He joined the planned giving staff at the University of Minnesota Foundation in 1997, and became director in 2005. He retired as senior director of planned giving in January 2015. 

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The SECURE Act:  Key Points and Takeaways for Charitable Fundraising Professionals
By: Joe Thiegs, MPGC member

By now you’ve likely heard about the SECURE Act, and maybe know a little about it.  Titled consistently with the painfully common Congressional penchant for semi-clever acronyms, “SECURE Act” is short for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019,” and was signed into law by the President on December 20, 2019.

What do fundraising and development professionals need to know about the SECURE Act?

There are three changes that most affect charitable gifts and gift planning:

  • The age for required minimum distributions (RMDs) from qualified retirement accounts is raised to 72 for donors turning 70½ in 2020 and beyond.
    • This did not change the minimum age for qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from IRAs, which remains 70½.
    • Individuals who reached age 70½ in 2019 or earlier still must continue to take RMDs even if they are not yet 72.
  • The age restriction on contributions to IRAs is lifted, but that came with a corresponding rule that reduces eligibility for QCDs by the aggregate amount of post-70½ IRA contributions.
  • The “stretch” payout option for designated beneficiaries of qualified retirement accounts is largely eliminated and changed to a 10-year withdrawal window for most non-spouse beneficiaries.

As a result of these SECURE Act provisions:

  • People have more incentive than ever to give IRA and other qualified retirement account assets to charity, because now it is a little less appealing to designate those assets to family or other individuals in many cases.
  • Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from IRAs remain attractive, perhaps more than ever, but the rules regarding QCDs just got more complicated and could trip up those who aren’t paying attention.
  • Charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) funded with retirement assets at death are a potential solution to at least one of the planning problems caused by the recent changes.While it’s important to understand that and propose it as an option for donors in appropriate circumstances, be careful not to over-focus on CRTs, as they will be considered by a relatively small percentage of donors.
  • A bigger opportunity is beneficiary designations of qualified retirement assets made directly to charity at death, which deserves more marketing and should be discussed with donors more broadly.

Among the steps for your organization to consider:

  • Review your Planned Giving and IRA QCD web pages, as well as brochures, one-pagers, and any other donor-facing materials, and update for accuracy as necessary in light of the SECURE Act.
  • Review IRA QCD receipt templates for appropriate language, and consider adding a brief mention of post-70½ IRA contributions to flag a possible issue for donors who have made such contributions.
  • Increase communications to donors encouraging consideration of IRA QCDs (donors age 70½ or older) and making your charity a designated beneficiary of retirement accounts (all donors).
  • For more established and sophisticated Planned Giving programs, increase communications with older donors about life-income gifts (charitable gift annuities and CRTs) generally.The benefits of TCRUTs as a possible solution for those affected by the SECURE Act changes can be raised in this context.
  • Use the SECURE Act as a good reason to get in touch with donors, but don’t get too technical in communications.Simple, broad messaging with an invitation to a conversation is great.You can include links to more information for those who want it, or an offer to send more detailed explanations.
  • Make sure not to give or appear to give specific legal, tax, or financial advice, and do encourage donors to check in and talk with their professional advisors. Now is a prime time for many donors to be reviewing their plans, and you want your organization to be in their thoughts as they do.

For a more detailed explanation of the SECURE Act changes noted in this article and their effects on donor giving options, along with examples, QCD rules, CRT descriptions, and more, see a more in-depth version of this piece at:

Welcome, New Members!

Julianne Amendola Minneapolis Institute of Art
Jon Applebaum Bernstein Global Wealth Management
Dave Clutter Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities
Emily Geris Knute Nelson
Paul Knutson CentraCare Foundation
Joseph Kolar University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy-Twin Cities
Laine Lyons UND Alumni Association & Foundation
Mike Mannausau UND Alumni Association & Foundation
Darla Mergen CentraCare Foundation
Brandon Swanson PNC Institutional Asset Management
David Swanson Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation
Anne Ward Allodium Investment Consultants

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The Source is Looking For a Few Good Contributors

Now, more than ever, it is important for MPGC members to keep current and share trends and valuable techniques with others. The Source e-newsletter is a great way to get published while helping inform members and friends about MPGC.

Whether it is a unique donor experience, an article regarding a proven giving strategy, or a web link to a planned giving resource of interest to our members, we want to hear from you.

If you have an expertise or experience in the area that you want to share with the MPGC membership, contact one of our MPGC Communications Committee members:

Karla Healy |Chair |
Alison E. Roberts, CFRE |
Jennifer White | Editor |
Lynn Praska | 
Helene Benitez | 
Andrew Tiebert |

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The ideas expressed in articles are solely the opinions of the authors and do not represent any position taken or advice given by MPGC. Any calculations are for illustration purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting, or other professional advice.

Copyright ©2020 Minnesota Planned Giving Council. All rights reserved.