Fall 2018
Issue 8 |Vol. 4

The Source is published quarterly by the Minnesota Planned Giving Council

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Pre-conference Happy Hour

Attendees of the 42nd Annual Conference who are traveling in from outside the Twin Cities are invited to a pre-conference Happy Hour on Tuesday, October 23, 6:30 – 8 p.m. at The Saint Paul Hotel’s Lobby Bar.

Questions? Email Anne Rodenberg or call 651-280-2443.

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Come to an event!
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Message from the Chair

As the Chair of MPGC, and having co-led a strategic planning process and launched the new plan, I’ve been thinking lot about our value proposition over the last year or so. And it’s really simple. It’s our people. We have THE BEST people involved in our work. This is different than our mission, which we deliver on with our signature education programs, Brisk Walk Through The Basics Of Planned Giving, Leave a Legacy at Lunch web series, and most prominent, the Annual Conference. We consistently deliver high quality education year after year. How does this happen? Volunteers like you are behind it all. Volunteers take the initiative, coordinate schedules, make the calls, plan the events, ideate, and invite speakers, prospective members, and guests to join us. We come for the education sessions, but we show up for each other. This is a conscious decision to show up. It is an effort to serve in a volunteer role. Hopefully, it is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Our people, our members and volunteers, are really our most valuable resource and why anyone in the charitable planning arena would want to join our vibrant community full of experts.  Moreover, these experts all share a trait in common – a helping spirit. Collaboration and kindness abound within MPGC. I’m proud of who we are and want to spread the word with your help. I also want to acknowledge that each of our volunteers, the “doers,” are going above and beyond their work life or their professional duty, and each of us is the beneficiary of their time, talent, and energy. Please accept my sincere THANK YOU, to volunteers – past, present, and future – for making the Minnesota Planned Giving Council a special community where we want to show up. We need more hands on our volunteer force. If you’re interested in learning about which committee roles are available and may fit your interests, please contact me at marie.ruzek@wellsfargo.com.


Marie Ruzek, JD, CFRE 
Chair, Minnesota Planned Giving Council

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Register Now! 42nd Annual Conference & Brisk Walk, October 23-25, 2018

MPGC Annual Conference

Philanthropy in Practice - New Venue & More Value!

Register Now

A great conference is no accident. It is determined by you! Your feedback has been heard and we believe you will see a fresh approach to the science and art of “Philanthropy in Practice.” Sessions have been designed for the opportunities, strengths, and challenges you face “in the field” and share with your teams as modern fundraising professionals.
Your Conference Committee has worked hard on your behalf all year to create relevant, inspiring, and timely educational offerings to be held at MPGC member Institution host site, Metropolitan State University.

You will enjoy state of the art classrooms to maximize breakout sessions, an amphitheater style conference hall for our plenary sessions, panoramic views of the Saint Paul skyline, a dedicated work room – should you get that “big gift call” during the conference, student volunteer docents to make sure you always know where to go, and free parking!

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Conference Speaker Spotlight: Daniel Harris

By Alison Roberts, Chair, Communications Committee

Dan HarrisDan Harris will be a breakout speaker and a featured plenary speaker on Day 1 of the MPGC Annual Conference. Dan is responsible for leading all national philanthropic efforts for U.S. Bank Wealth Management. He leads a team of Philanthropic Specialists helping families, private foundations, and public charities to maximize the impact of their philanthropic giving.

I had a chance to speak with Dan to learn more about his work at U.S. Bank in the Wealth Management and Philanthropic Services division and why he’s excited to attend our Annual Conference in October and share strategies for successful storytelling with donors.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

It’s fun to talk to clients about using their wealth to make a difference in their community. I love uncovering a client’s passion and helping them connect that passion to a cause. U.S. Bank made a decision years ago that philanthropy was important and that we had a part to play to expand and enable charitable giving to happen in our communities. For almost all our clients, philanthropy is a part of the conversation. We start with the assumption that our clients are philanthropic and want to help nonprofits in their communities and the financial planning moves forward from there.

Are there any trends you are noticing with your clients in terms of their expectations or desires for charities and how they communicate with them?

There is more wealth now than there has ever been in this country. But there’s also sometimes a disconnect between grandparents and their kids or grandkids. The grandparents have been blessed with financial wealth but are yearning for a way to pass along their values and find a way to connect with the next generation. As these generational gaps widen, I believe nonprofits can help bridge the gap by talking with families about their giving and why they are passionate about supporting this cause.

Another trend I’m seeing is that donors are delighted to have a more personal relationship with organizations, but they don’t want you to waste their time. Be clear about what you’re asking for – whether it be time, treasure, or expertise – and always follow-through on your promises.

In the planned giving world, we’re noticing that fewer donors are informing nonprofits that they have been included in their estate plans. As an industry, nonprofits have done an excellent job over the last two decades marketing to these donors to educate them about the benefits and opportunities of a planned gift. But, many who include nonprofits in their plans seem to have a preference to “watch from afar” and never inform the nonprofit of their intentions. I believe one strategy to combat this is to remain donor-centered in our communications and continually work to gain trust from our donors in hopes that they will feel confident enough to disclose their plans with our fundraising teams.

Why do you believe storytelling is so important for fundraisers?

We can inspire evangelists for our cause with stories. We won’t inspire them with data. It is imperative that as fundraisers we become good storytellers so we can expand our reach in the community by having more evangelists out there sharing our mission and encouraging others to get involved.
Don’t miss Dan’s plenary session - Strategic Storytelling to Make a Difference - Wednesday, October 24th from 3:00 – 4:00pm.

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Conference Speaker Spotlight: Jeremy Belsky

By Lynn Praska, Communications Committee

Jeremy BelskyJeremy Belsky, Planned Giving Officer at Boys Town, will be a breakout speaker and a featured plenary speaker on Day 2 of the MPGC Annual Conference.

Jeremy has spent the past 19 years in the charitable gift planning field, helping to further the missions of education and faith based organizations, all in Omaha. He’s also the author of two fundraising books, Keeping Catholic Schools Open and 10 Simple Steps for Cultivating Donors, published by the National Catholic Education Association. Over the past eight years, Belsky’s audio vignettes, Spirit of Stewardship, have been broadcast daily on Omaha radio station KVSS radio and internationally on EWTN radio.
I had a chance to speak with Jeremy about his career and his upcoming presentations at this year’s conference.

Tell us about how you began your career in fundraising.

Truth be told, it was nepotism. I have an uncle who was at the head of a nonprofit and he asked what I thought about stewardship and development (the position open at the time). I was two years out of college and looking for something with more meaning than my current professional role. After one year I knew this was the career for me and set out to learn all I could. I enrolled at St. Mary’s University in their Philanthropy & Development masters program. It was during those three summers that I learned planned giving was most captivating to me, and set my compass accordingly.

How long have you been with Boys Town and what makes Boys Town a special place to work?

I’ve served the mission of Boys Town for seven years. It’s truly a special place to feel like your work provides meaning and results. I get the opportunity to mentor a high school youth in reading or math one hour each week. You learn so much about gratitude in your own life when you listen to the obstacles they’ve had to overcome. Whether the kids are there for behavior modification, or their home environment is not safe, it’s an opportunity for them to get a second chance and take part in a caring and supportive family environment.

Do you have any words of wisdom for new fundraisers?

Spend your greatest amount of time with those who have the greatest capacity to give.

Your breakout session is on Cultivating and Stewarding Planned Giving Donors.  Why should attendees choose this session?

Have you ever convinced yourself that stewardship is the end cycle? The value placed upon stewardship for you and your organization is paramount, and the reasons why will be shared. Stewardship is cultivation, and cultivation is stewardship.  Gift Planners naturally excel in the cultivation stage, but the presentation will highlight examples why the exceptional donor experience –stewardship as cultivation – is ongoing and yields results.

Your plenary, Teamwork! What Happens When a Gift Planner, Donor and Advisors Work Together, is the last session of the conference.  How will this session lead to the “smartest gifts possible?”

Many of your donors work with an estate planning attorney, financial advisor or CPA. These advisors have trusted relationships with your donors and answer their questions about charitable giving. If you want to learn more about leveraging these relationships to raise more gifts for your organization, this session is for you!

Don’t miss Jeremy’s plenary session on Thursday, October 25 from 3:15-4:15pm.

To hear more from Dan, Jeremy and our other dynamic conference speakers, register today!

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MPGC: Furthering Careers Whether Near or Far

By Greg Diehl, Member, MPGC

Hi, I’m Greg Diehl, the Development Officer at the Fargo-Moorhead Community Foundation in Fargo, North Dakota. I’m also a four-year member of MPGC and have served on the Board of Directors for the past two years. My membership in MPGC has been extremely important to my success in my work. I came to the planned giving world later in my career. As an executive director of two small, local nonprofits for almost 30 years, I tended to spend the majority of my time raising annual gifts and, once in a while, soliciting a major gift. I didn’t really understand planned gifts and how important they can be to engaging current donors for the long term with the potential for much larger gifts and stronger involvement from these same donors.

The Brisk Walk program was my introduction to this new-to-me world and attendance at every MPGC Annual Conference and a few of the Breakfast Meeting and Education Events since then have helped me deepen my knowledge of planned giving as well as providing networking opportunities to learn from my peers in the field.

The rewards have been many but living 240 miles from the Cities has presented some challenges. It has been difficult to justify a trip with overnight stay to attend a two-hour breakfast meeting. Thankfully, MPGC has from time to time shared those education events through an online feed. The Leave a Legacy Giving Series, offered via webinar, has also allowed me to participate in this learning series without making the long trip. These challenges have also carried over into my Board participation. I try to attend in person at least every other meeting. Originally, when I wasn’t able to attend in person I could call in by phone. With Zoom being introduced in the past year I’m able to feel a bit more like I’m actually there.

Has it been difficult to live so far away from the majority of the members of MPGC and the events of MPGC? Certainly, yes. But MPGC has made every attempt to include an “outlier” like me and the education and networking opportunities I continue to take advantage of have made all the difference for me feeling like I now am a planned giving professional. 

Thanks MPGC!

MPGC values its members living and working in Greater Minnesota and surrounding states. We encourage you to connect through the Leave a Legacy program, Board and committee service, and in-person events when possible. To get more involved, contact Anne Rodenberg, Membership Committee Chair.

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Fall Happy Hour

MPGC Happy Hour MembersMPGC joined with the University of Minnesota Office of Planned Giving to host a networking happy hour on Thursday, Sept. 27. More than 30 members and guests joined the fun to catch up and make new connections. Membership Chair Anne Rodenberg encouraged guests to do three things: Renew or join as membersvolunteer for MPGC, and invite other colleagues to learn about MPGC. MPGC hosts two happy hours a year. If your organization would like to co-host one in 2019, please contact Anne Rodenberg.

Save the Date for Upcoming Breakfast Meeting & Education Programs

Hello from the Program Committee!  Please save the following dates for our 2019 programs:

  • January 8, 2019
  • March 5, 2019
  • May 7, 2019
  •  July 9, 2019
  • September 10, 2019

Topics and speakers for these dates will be shared in the coming months.

Also, in 2019, we will be moving to a new venue for our programs.  Starting in January, our meetings will be held at the Town and Country Club (300 N Mississippi River Blvd, St Paul, MN 55104).

We look forward to seeing there!

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Update from the MPGC Development Committee

You can support MPGC through Sponsorships! MPGC relies on support from its members, allied professionals and nonprofit vendors to continue the good work it does in educating and providing networking opportunities to its members and supporters.  Sponsorships are available at all levels and can be tailored to meet your company’s objectives for the level of desired exposure to MPGC’s membership at its events and in its publications.  See the many ways that you can support MPGC and its mission here.

We look forward to your support!

Please let Development Committee Co-Chairs (Inez Bergquist and Sheryl Morrison) know if you have ideas for sponsorships or other support that you or others can contribute

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Brisk Walk Goes on the Road

Did you know you could host the Brisk Walk Through the Basics at your office? The Brisk Walk Team is ready to travel to your place and teach a fun, useful, deep-dive into the essentials of planned giving. We have traveled as far as Texas to present this one-of-a-kind program. For more information, contact Brisk Walk Committee Chair, Dana Holt at dana.holt@holtplannedgiving.com.

Take Action Today to Expand the IRA Charitable Rollover

The National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP) is proud to support the Legacy IRA Act (HR 1337), federal legislation that would expand the current-law IRA Rollover to allow for life-income gifts, including charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts.  CGP believes this legislation will allow an entire generation of Americans with average resources to make critical gifts to charitable organizations in their communities while still receiving a modest amount of retirement income. 

To help build support for the Legacy IRA Act and encourage the House to advance this legislation during the coming months, CGP is asking all members to take action today.  


Children’s Minnesota invites you to join fellow Twin Cities Advisors for the Children's Minnesota Legacy Advisors Fall Kick-off on Tuesday, October 23rd. Network with your wealth advisor and estate planning attorney peers, learn how you can get involved with Children's, and hear from renowned Minnesota author and podcast host, Nora McInerny. Please join us for breakfast and program at Children's Minnesota from 7am-9am. RSVP to sarah.oltmanns@cmh.edu or (952) 992-5546.

Legacy Advisors is a volunteer group at Children’s Minnesota comprised of professionals who assist individuals and families with financial and estate planning matters (e.g. attorneys, accountants, wealth managers, trust officers, etc.). Members of Legacy Advisors are an integral part of connecting the importance of philanthropy for Children’s Minnesota and the broader community with fellow advisors and clients.

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Welcome, New Members!

Stephen Bennett, Gustavus Adolphus College

Jennifer Berges, University of Minnesota Duluth

Robert Chandler, Chandler and Brown, Ltd.

Tim Chrapkiewicz, Harvard Community Education Foundation

Denise Fosse, Catholic Charities of S. Paul and Minneapolis

Michael Gozola, Mayo Clinic

Paula Kabe, United Hospital Distict

Brad Kmoch, Three Links/MN Odd Fellows Home Foundation

Sigrid Letcher, UND Alumni Association & Foundation

Lani McCollar, Bentz Whaley Flessner

Erin McGlynn, American Cancer Society

Chris Nelson, Catholic Community Foundation

Nancy Pederson, UND Alumni Association & Foundation

Lisa Salzl, MacPhail Center for Music

Elsa Scheie, Hamline University

Matt Steiner, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Foundation

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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:

Alison E. Roberts, CFRE | Chair | aroberts@childrenscancer.org
Jennifer White | Editor | whit0559@umn.edu
Kristine Hansen | kristine.hansen@metrostate.edu
Karla Healey | khealey@neighb.org
Lynn Praska | lpraska@umn.edu
Sheri Satterstrom | ssatterstrom@catholicunited.org

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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 ©2018 Minnesota Planned Giving Council. All rights reserved.