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Foundation helps maximize charity

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2005

A new organization on the Kenai Peninsula aims to help residents plan their charitable donations and maximize interest and tax benefits on contributions.

The Kenai Peninsula Foundation was created as a local organization to direct individual donations into a $14 million endowment run by the Alaska Community Foundation, or ACF. Then earnings from the principal investment in the endowment can be directed toward any charitable purpose determined by the donator.

"A lot of us have money here," said Jane Stein, president of the Kenai Peninsula Foundation's board at Tuesday's Soldotna Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Instead of going to the trouble to individually invest money for a charity, this makes it easy and allows people to harness the earning potential of a larger endowment, she said.

The Alaska Community Foundation is the statewide organization managing the endowment. The Kenai Peninsula Foundation is just one member organization — out of about 75 — that helps people invest in the endowment. It then helps direct locally-invested donations back into the community.

"It's a vehicle for charitable contributions," said ACF Executive Director Marcia Hastings.

Other organizations investing through the foundation include the Anchorage Park Foundation, Carver Family Fund and the Catholic Social Service Fund for Compassionate Care, to name a few.

All of these funds are pooled as an endowment to grow assets for the community, Hasting said.

She equated the Kenai Peninsula Foundation to a branch bank.

"They build relationships with the donors," she said. "They have their ear to the ground and know what the community's needs are."

The Kenai Peninsula Foundation is still in its infancy and has been in the planning stages for about five years, Stein said.

She said the idea for the foundation came from a conversation she and her husband had with an attorney.

"It's when my husband and I went in to get our wills in line with Alaska laws," she said adding at the time they had some money in a trust in California.

She said her lawyer commented that there is a real need for a trust in Alaska.

"From that, we came back and said, 'let's start doing this,'" she said.

For more information on the foundation, call 260-3800. Information may also be found on the Web at www.bridgesnetwork.org/agencies.html and clicking on Kenai Peninsula Foundation link.



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