MCF's Blog

MCF's blog provides an opportunity for staff and others to share insight into topics related to philanthropy and how the Foundation operates.

November 17, 2021

10 Things to Remember About Year-End Giving

By Alison Helland

It is hard to believe, but 2021 is quickly drawing to a close! At this time of year, many people start thinking about the types of charitable gifts they would like to make before year-end. As you prepare for your year-end giving, Alison shares 10 things to remember.

Review Alison's Year-End Giving Tips 

Posts from 2021

Donor Advised Fund Reform: the ACE Act

By Bob Sorge | September 29, 2021

While most donor advised funds get financial resources into the community, plenty of cases exist where dollars go into such funds and don't come out. Over the last decade, many versions of legislation have been introduced to address these issues. The most recent, the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act, is much stronger than previous versions, and shows a clear understanding of the differences between community foundations, commercial gift funds and private foundations. Learn Why MCF Supports the ACE Act

Cliff’s Gifts Benefit SAIL and Community

by David Koehler | September 9, 2021

When Cliff Voegeli passed away in 2020, he left a permanent legacy of support for Sharing Active Independent Lives (SAIL). After volunteering with SAIL during his retirement, Cliff became passionate about the organization's work helping seniors age in place. He wanted to ensure SAIL could continue to provide support in the community for years to come. Learn How Cliff Created His Legacy

How MCF's Investment Mindset May Differ From Yours (and Why That's a Good Thing

By Carmen Jeschke | July 22, 2021

When fundholders establish an endowment at Madison Community Foundation (MCF), they do so because they want to create a permanent legacy; they are investing for future generations. To make this happen for the nearly 1,200 funds we steward, MCF operates under significantly different investment conditions than individual investors. Learn More

Meet Caitlin Ryan, MCF's Donor Relations Manager

July 14, 2021

Caitlin Ryan joined MCF as Donor Relations Manager just in time to jump into planning the first-ever virtual Madison Gives event, and she hasn't missed a stride since. Caitlin is looking forward to working with donors and fundholders to help make their giving experiences meaningful. Learn More About Caitlin

Dane County Nonprofits Eligible for Grants

By Tom Linfield | June 28, 2021

As we slowly emerge from the rubble of the pandemic, people are walking the streets mask free, wondering if COVID really is behind us. It’s wonderful to see people out and about, old friends reconnecting, family members visiting, stores and museums reopening, and a return to normalcy emerging. The pandemic, though, has a long tail. For the 3,000 nonprofits in Dane County, 2021 may prove as challenging as 2020. Read More

A Useful Tool for Both Donors and Nonprofits

Andy Davey | May 19, 2021

The Greater Madison Nonprofit Directory serves as a single platform for information about the thousands of nonprofits in our area, including more than 3,000 501(c)3 organizations in Madison alone. It also is the most visited page on our website, and is free for anyone to use. Madison Community Foundations (MCF) hosts the Directory as one way to help encourage transparency in the nonprofit field. Read More

Environmental Impact, Part 2: Farmland Equity and Outdoor Learning

Andy Davey | March 18, 2021

This is the second installment of a new series of blog posts and reports providing more information and analysis about the impact of Madison Community Foundation's (MCF's) grantmaking in each of our five community impact focus areas: the environment, the arts, learning, community development and capacity building. Read more

Environmental Impact, Part 1: Stopping Erosion and Restoring Prairies

Andy Davey | February 24, 2021

People often ask about the impact of our grantmaking on the community. To help answer those questions, we’re embarking on a new series of blog posts and reports providing more information and analysis about the scope and impact of our grants in each of our five community impact focus areas: the environment, the arts, learning, community development and capacity building. We begin today, focusing on the environment. Read more

The Big Share Is an Easy and Fun Way to Support Nonprofits

January 22, 2021

On Tuesday, March 2, Community Shares of Wisconsin will host The Big Share, the seventh annual community giving day. The Big Share is a fun and flexible way to donate to and learn more about a range of organizations making a difference in our community. This year, 70 local nonprofits are participating, including some groups participating in their first Big Share. Read more

 

Posts from 2020

Thankful in 2020? Yes, I Am.

Bob Sorge | December 9, 2020

With 2020 drawing to a close, I paused to think about what I was thankful for. It has been a challenging year, at best. I’m sure if I asked all of you, “What are you most thankful for in 2020?” many of you would respond, “That it’s just about over.” Read More

10 Tips for Year-End Giving

David Koehler | November 23, 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, following are a few tips to keep in mind as you plan and direct your year-end giving to make a difference for our community and beyond. Read More

Deep Work

Bob Sorge | October 21, 2020

In mid-March as MCF was shutting down its physical office space in response to the Governor’s pending Safer at Home order, I happened to be reading a book by Georgetown Professor Cal Newport called Deep Work. I have a lot of self-improvement books on my shelves (some of us need more help than others). Currently Built to Last, Be Fearless, Leading Minds, When, and Winning Decisions are all in the queue. Read More

The Word of the Year Is Pivot

Tom Linfield | October 7, 2020

"Food pantries will never work the same again,” says Marcia Kasieta, Executive Director of the Badger Prairie Needs Network (BPNN). She is referring to the changes made under the pandemic to serve clients and volunteers in safer ways while responding to the tremendous growth in need. Food cannot be packaged or distributed in the same ways. Visitors drive through outdoor spaces, never entering the actual pantry. Overall, the need for services has grown by 60%, and BPNN has gone from serving 14,000 visitors in 2019 to more than 22,000 so far in 2020. Read More

Census 2020: Funding the Final Push for a Fair, Accurate and Equitable Count

September 22, 2020

This opportunity only comes once every 10 years. The census determines where $1.5 trillion is spent on everything from health care to highways, housing and food assistance. It determines representation by elected officials to our government. Read More

The Unexpected Pleasure of Legacy Giving

David Koehler | September 9, 2020

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is helping people create legacies of giving for the charities and causes they find most meaningful. Read More

Understanding the ESG Portfolio

Carmen Jeschke | August 13, 2020

Social consciousness has become a way of life for many. In response, many investment companies have options available to investors that support this philosophy. Read More

Supporting Early Education Providers

Kelly Hook, Wisconsin Early Education Association | August 13, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge challenges for childcare providers, whose services are essential to working parents. The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) – a 2019 Community Impact grant recipient – has been working to provide support to those providers. Kelly Hook, WECA’s Director of Donor + Partner Engagement, shares an update of the work they’re doing. Read More

Our Commitment to Ending Racism

Bob Sorge | June 4, 2020

Madison Community Foundation (MCF) has a long-standing vision: that greater Madison will be a vibrant and generous place where all people thrive. Unfortunately, that vision feels as remote today as it ever has. Read More

CARES Act and Charitable Giving

Carmen Jeschke | April 22, 2020

Nonprofit organizations are facing substantial hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis. To help, Congress provided significant encouragement to charitable giving for both individuals and businesses in the newly enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Read More

CARES Act Provisions for Nonprofit Organizations

Carmen Jeschke | April 13, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act introduced several programs designed to provide direct benefits to nonprofit organizations, primarily in the form of loans and tax credits. Read More

What a Difference a Week Makes

Bob Sorge | March 27, 2020

Wow. What just happened? If, by chance, you had forgotten how fragile life is, this past week probably served as a reminder. The movement of COVID-19 from distant humanitarian issue to full-on crisis next door feels like it’s taken about two minutes. Read More

Supporting Our Community During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Bob Sorge | March 12, 2020

The coronavirus (and COVID-19, the disease it causes) and the impact it may have on our healthcare system and vulnerable populations is dominating the news and social media. While much of this information remains speculation, few can deny that this epidemic will have, and is already having, a large impact. Read More

The Big Share is Coming. What is the Big Share?

February 13, 2020

The Big Share is an online day of giving hosted by Community Shares of Wisconsin benefiting nearly 70 local nonprofits. The Big Share is a community day of giving – an opportunity to unite our community around causes that matter to us and help nonprofit organizations raise awareness and support for their missions. Read More

Understanding the Grantmaking Process

Tom Linfield | January 17, 2020

Monday afternoon I stood looking out at a room of 90 people, including nonprofit staff, MCF donors, board members, and the press. This was an annual press conference at which we announced more than $600,000 in grant awards for 22 agencies. Read More

Posts from 2019

Thank You for Making MCF the Community's Foundation

Bob Sorge | December 27, 2019

It’s a privilege to work at the community’s foundation. I don’t think I can say that often enough. Every day people from all walks of life come together to make investments in endowments held by MCF for the future of our community. It’s an act of optimism made all the more special because it is done together with our neighbors and friends. Read More

Considering a Charitable Gift Annuity? Act Now.

Carmen Jeschke | December 3, 2019

Safety, security and an income for life. These attributes have made annuities an investment mainstay going back to ancient Rome. Add the ability to give to your favorite charity and receive a partial tax deduction and you can see why charitable gift annuities (CGAs) are among the most popular planned gifts. Read More

10 Tips for Successful Year-End Giving

David Koehler | October 29, 2019

As the community’s foundation, we are privileged to play a role in the extraordinary generosity of our neighbors − particularly at year’s end. To be most effective, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you plan and direct your year-end giving. Read More

My Principal Experience

Andy Davey | October 11, 2019

This past Tuesday I had the privilege of being part of the Foundation for Madison Public School’s A Principal Experience. I spent the morning with two other guests – Tory Laube from Demco and Abby Schulz from TASC – at Hawthorne Elementary school, not far from my home on the east side of Madison. Instructional coach Lori Kluetzman was our guide into the complexities of Hawthorne. Read More

Meet Carmen Jeschke, MCF's New Vice President of Finance & Operations

October 8, 2019

MCF is excited to welcome Carmen Jeschke to our team. Carmen joined MCF on October 1st, stepping into the role vacated by Ann Casey’s retirement. Carmen comes to MCF from Kollath CPA in Middleton, where she most recently was Tax Manager. Read More

Volunteers Make an Impact

Bob Sorge | September 25, 2019

I’ve been thinking a lot about volunteering lately. Perhaps not surprisingly – volunteering is a valuable gift to any nonprofit – and using philanthropic resources effectively and efficiently is always on my mind in one way or another. It goes with the territory. More recently, I’ve been thinking more specifically about what it means to volunteer, and what it looks like to make an impact. Read More

Supporting Those Who Nurture and Uplift Our Kids

Andy Davey | September 11, 2019

While my one-year-old son gleefully ate handfuls of corn bread and macaroni and cheese – and also dropped handfuls of the gooey stuff onto my work pants and dress shoes – I was reminded yet again how much care and support every child needs to be happy, healthy, and successful in life. The two of us, along with my wife and some friends, were hanging out on the glorious Monona Terrace rooftop for the last Dane Dances of the summer. We had the pleasure of enjoying the smooth sounds of a classic Motown band, mingling with others in one of Madison’s most diverse public festivals, and even shaking and swaying a little on the dance floor ourselves. But the evening also featured a special celebration for some of our city’s too often unsung heroes: out-of-school-time workers. Read More

Waving Goodbye to Ann Casey

August 28, 2019

Today we wave goodbye to Ann Casey, MCF’s incomparable Vice President of Finance and Operations, who is retiring after 20 years at MCF. Before she set off to start her next adventure, Ann was kind enough to share some thoughts with us. Read More

The Recipe for a Successful Capital Campaign

Tom Linfield | August 20, 2019

Capital campaigns are both daunting and invigorating. They can take years from planning, to campaign, to construction, to grand opening and require a lot of time, energy, and resources. They involve a million details, from feasibility studies to naming opportunities to carpet samples. And they can be an emotional rollercoaster for staff and board members. Read More

Field Trip: Exploring the Bayview and Goodman Community Centers

Becki Fiegel | July 31, 2019

Several times a year, the entire MCF staff gets out of the office to visit and learn more about the organizations MCF and its donors support. I was excited to participate in one of these field trips earlier this month, when we visited the Bayview Community Center and the Goodman Community Center. Read More

Working With MCF: An Advisor's Perspective

David Koehler | July 15, 2019

As a professional advisor, helping your clients establish their charitable plans is a significant responsibility. Not only are you helping them and their families achieve their philanthropic goals today, you’re also helping them leave a legacy for tomorrow. It can be a long and personal journey for your clients (and you!) that’s both rewarding and demanding. Read More

MCF Welcomes Becki Fiegel

June 21, 2019

Get to know Becki Fiegel, MCF's new Communications Director. Read More

MCF and the Evjue Foundation Announce $1 Million Grant to Madison Youth Arts Center

May 22, 2019

On May 21, Madison Community Foundation announced a $500,000 grant toward the new Madison Youth Arts Center, in conjunction with a $500,000 grant from the Evjue Foundation. MCF President Bob Sorge and Paul Fanlund, editor and publisher of the Cap Times, made the joint grant announcement during Madison Gives, MCF’s annual dinner at Monona Terrace, with more than 600 in attendance. Read More

Variance - The Community Foundation Super Power

Ann Casey | April 19, 2019

Often when we open a new endowment fund – especially for a nonprofit organization – we are asked about what will happen if something changes with anything related to the purpose of the fund or the organization. This is when we will explain a unique aspect of a community foundation: variance power. Read More

Women and Philanthropy

Martha Taylor | March 29, 2019

One of the greatest joys you can have in life is giving of self – time, talent and resources. This concept of giving in everyday life – living philanthropically – permeates the teachings of all religions and humanitarian traditions. We see these principles applied to business, government and civic life resulting great acts of good in our society. Read More

Imagination and the Arts

Tom Linfield | March 6, 2019

Imagine if the dozens of arts groups serving youth in Madison had a specialized, state of the art facility to call their own; a large building that could provide rehearsal and performance space, visual art gallery space, costume and set production shops, and multiple, flexible classrooms for teaching music, dance, voice, theater and art. Read More

Say Yes!

Diane Ballweg | February 19, 2019

Philanthropist Diane Ballweg reflects on her time as Chair of Madison Community Foundation’s Board of Governor. Read More

Building Blocks for the Common Good

Andy Davey | February 5, 2019

What do a splash pad full of soaked kids and chatting parents, an elementary school that provides health services, a library space for making art, and a park with hikers climbing to a hilltop chapel have in common? Aside from each being funded by Madison Community Foundation grants and endowments, they are all examples of what sociologist Eric Klinenburg calls “social infrastructure” in his new book, “Palaces for the People." Read More

Madison Reading Project is on the Move

Brennan Nardi | January 24, 2019

Rowan Childs spent her childhood on the move. While her father’s corporate career required the family to relocate every few years, her mother made sure one thing in their lives remained constant: the family’s ever-growing book collection. Read More

Hey Nonprofits, It's OK to Say Thank You!

Ann Casey | January 14, 2019

Year-end giving makes December a busy month at Madison Community Foundation. It’s a time when we receive charitable donations from a variety of individuals and organizations and send out dozens, if not hundreds, of donor advised grant distributions. I pondered the various ways nonprofit organizations receive support from their donors—through MCF as well as other charitable giving tools and entities. And I thought about how confusing those gifts can be and how nonprofits may need to adjust their systems to deal with them. Read More

Posts from 2018

$1 Million Estate Gift Will Support OutReach Forever

David Koehler | December 4, 2018

Bill and his wife, Joyce, were well known for their extraordinary generosity toward the people and causes they loved—the arts, learning, helping the underserved, parks, history, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community, and more. Read More

Who Knew? Things I Learned From our Recent Community Impact Grant Proposals

Tom Linfield | November 14, 2018

Each fall more than 80 agencies apply for a grant from Madison Community Foundation's Community Impact Fund. This year, MCF asked 28 of those agencies to submit a full proposal. Reading the applications is always a fascinating experience—each project illuminated through a five-page proposal that expresses research, need, opportunities, and planned impact. Read More

Diversity is Strength

Bob Sorge | November 1, 2018

Five years ago, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (now Kids Forward) published the Race to Equity report. Its revelations of racial disparity hit our proud, progressive community from out of the blue … at least it hit me that way. Read More

Tackling Tough Questions About Dane County's Nonprofit Sector

Andy Davey | October 16, 2018

The number of nonprofit organizations in Dane County has doubled in the last two decades. To what degree does this proliferation indicate a nonprofit sector that is healthy and vibrant, or one that is full of redundancies and confusion? Read More

The Role of Storytelling in Measuring Impact

Brennan Nardi | October 2, 2018

Despite the good, important, and often transformative work nonprofits are doing in our communities every day, they will be the first to tell you that measuring their impact is a challenge. Read More

That Nagging Feeling

David Koehler | September 20, 2018

If you are like many nonprofit professionals, you have a nagging feeling you should be doing more with planned giving and discussing it more frequently with your organization’s supporters. Read More

A "Bunch" of Tax Planing Ideas

Ann Casey | September 4, 2018

With the new tax laws in place, are you among those who will no longer itemize due to state and local tax deduction limits ($10,000 per year) and the doubling of the standard deduction* ($12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples)? Read More

Bridging the Out-of-School Gap

Tom Linfield | August 21, 2018

I was way over-involved in high school. I worked on the school paper, yearbook, sang in the choir and madrigals, and played violin in the orchestra. But my biggest creative outlet was theater, performing as Mr. Bumble in “Oliver” (got to sing the title song), a dancing waiter in “Hello Dolly,” (had to dance down a staircase holding a turkey) and the villain in our senior class play (complete with top hat, a Snidely Whiplash moustache to twirl, and a barrage of audience hisses whenever I did the hero wrong). Read More

Why Endowments Rock

Bob Sorge | August 7, 2018

Okay, okay—juxtaposing “endowments” and “rock” might sound like I’m pushing it a bit. Those are two words you don’t typically see together. For some people the word “endowment” has a bit of mustiness to it and, well, “rock” doesn’t. But let me make my case… Read More

A Thousand Words: MCF's Year of Giving in Pictures

Brennan Nardi | July 17, 2018

Over the past year, photographer Beth Skogen and I have been traipsing around Madison to document our 75th Anniversary Year of Giving grants in action. For every great image we print in a newsletter or annual report we share with donors who make all of this possible, there are so many more that never get published. So I dove into our archives for a few of my faves that deserve to be appreciated and enjoyed. Read More

What I'm Reading This Summer

Andy Davey | July 3, 2018

As Madison Community Foundation’s Community Resource Analyst, I’m responsible for understanding, as best I can, what’s happening in the nonprofit sector here in Dane County. Part of that means keeping up with what fellow researchers and practitioners are writing about the field more broadly. Read More

Higher CGA Rates Provide Opportunities for Donors

Ann Casey | June 19, 2018

Madison Community Foundation, like most nonprofits that accept CGAs, follows the gift annuity rates recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities. Earlier this spring, the ACGA released new rate tables, the first change since January 1, 2012, when rates were decreased dramatically due to the low interest rate environment at the time. Read More

Legacy Donors Will Transform the Madison Area's Future

David Koehler | June 6, 2018

Over the past 18 months, Madison Community Foundation welcomed an astounding 101 new Legacy Society member households—individuals and couples who have included a gift of any amount in their will or estate plan to create a permanent legacy of giving. Read More

Community Schools Take Flight in Madison

Tom Linfield | May 22, 2018

Question: What makes a great community? The answer: a great school. And the reverse is true, too–if we make neighborhoods a great place to live, with learning opportunities, green space, community gathering space and opportunities for fellowship and training, then we offer families a chance to thrive. Read More

Amplifying the Voices of Women in Nonprofits

Diane Ballweg | May 8, 2018

"At some point in your life a door will open and let the future in!" MCF has been swinging doors open for 75 years, impacting projects and lives throughout Dane County. As part of our "Year of Giving," the Amplify Madison grant will build the capacity of women leaders in area nonprofits. Read More

New MCF Research Sheds Light on Size, Scope of Dane County Nonprofit Sector

Andy Davey | April 24, 2018

In the months preparing to start my position as a research fellow at Madison Community Foundation last fall, I became more and more excited by the stories I read about MCF’s work and the things I imagined I’d be learning more about. I read about grants to support single Latina moms building their literacy skills, funds for youth learning to make everything from metal sculptures to new software programs, and seed money for lasting investments in major civic projects like Monona Terrace. Read More

Storytelling Strengthens Community and Philanthropy

Brennan Nardi | April 10, 2018

Storytelling is at the heart of what I do as communications director at Madison Community Foundation. With every donor’s gift, and every grant we give, there is a unique and special story that provides insight into the work we do as part of our mission to enhance the common good through philanthropy. Read More

Playing the Long Game

Ann Casey | March 27, 2018

Since 2006, Commonfund has served as Madison Community Foundation’s strategic investment partner assuring the sustainability of our permanent endowments. Ann Casey, Vice President of Finance and Operations, reflects on MCF's financial health during the ups and downs of stock market volatility. Read More

6 Reasons to Start a Donor-Advised Fund 

David Koehler | March 13, 2018

As 2017 came to a close, calls, emails and gifts to Madison Community Foundation (MCF) steadily increased. The confluence of a strong stock market, year-end giving and looming changes to tax laws drove donors to give generously, adding to an already strong year for philanthropy. When the dust settled, Madison Community Foundation saw a 65% increase in the number of new charitable funds opened over the previous year. Read More

Inside the Impact of Dane County Nonprofits 

Tom Linfield | February 27, 2018

What makes Madison special for you? Lakes? Education? Libraries? Arts? Festivals? Chances are, there’s a nonprofit (or two, or five) working hard to save those lakes, make that education accessible, build that new library, put on a show, or gather the community for a free event. Read More

MCF Blog Will be a Team Effort

Bob Sorge | February 13, 2018

Welcome to Volume 1, Issue 1 of Madison Community Foundation’s new blog. That’s right—your community foundation just got hip! Read More

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