This Q&A is a continuation of the article that ran in the March issue of Viking magazine.
- In your Viking interview you had mentioned wanting to deepen members’ understanding of the Foundation. Where are some areas you think members would most benefit from this deeper understanding?
- Through philanthropy, lives are changed. The Sons of Norway Foundation able to sustain its programs only with gifts from our lodges and donors. This support not only makes it possible for students to discover their passions and live their dreams but allows for additional funding for our lodges’ outreach into the community as well.
- We discussed the Foundation’s 50th anniversary in the March Viking, can you give us any updates on celebrations that are being planned to mark the occasion?
- Yes, we are looking forward to sharing information about the Foundation, its history and successes with everyone attending the District and International Conventions. We also are thrilled to announce that the Foundation will be part this year’s Folk Art Competition by recognizing an artist whose work best exemplifies the mission of the Foundation with a Golden Jubilee award! Also, as the year goes along, we will be rolling out additional Foundation initiatives and of course, be thanking our supporters along the way.
- What is the most impactful thing a member can do to support the Foundation?
- I’d say the most impactful thing is consistent annual giving to our annual fund. It’s what helps our programs grow and is the key to sustainability. That said, there are many ways to support the Foundation, and all gifts to our mission are important. Also, I feel it’s important for our donors to give in a way that’s the best fit for them that accomplishes their philanthropic goals.
For those who are interested in creating a named scholarship or grant opportunity at $100,000 or more, we are happy to discuss how we can help them achieve that goal in a way that is practical for them. For example, thanks to recent changes to tax laws there are certain mechanisms, such as the IRA Charitable Rollover provision, that allow individuals who have reached age 70 ½ to donate to charitable organizations directly from their individual retirement accounts without treating the distribution as taxable income. Therefore, the cost of the gift made by the donors is actually less than the amount of the gift a charity such as the Sons of Norway Foundation receives through this gifting method.
Or, if a donor wants to support the Foundation in perpetuity but is not in a position at this time, another way to give is through a deferred gift. Naming the Foundation in their will or as a beneficiary in their life insurance policy is a way to leave a legacy that will have a great impact to our members’ futures and less impact on a donor’s current financial situation. No matter how someone is involved with the Foundation, we truly want our supporters to feel the joy of knowing that their contribution has made a difference.
- Are there other ways that Sons of Norway members can support the Foundation other than through funding?
- Yes! If you believe in our work to help Sons of Norway members, ensuring that our cultural values and heritage are passed along to future generations and empowering students of all ages to keep learning, then tell others about us! Please tell your fellow Sons of Norway members or friends outside of your lodge about the Foundation and how they can get involved. Please engage your friends and family to participate in a program or event you are sponsoring through a Foundation grant. Please encourage students to apply for scholarships for camp or for college. Also please encourage your friends to apply for cross-cultural exchanges or to finish their college degrees. We have opportunities for people of all ages because our mission is to support YOU, our members.
For more posts by Erik Evans, click here.