Savvy year-end gifts
Now is a fitting time to give to causes you care about, and savvy giving can provide you with tax savings for 2013.
Monetary donations by check or credit card are the simplest form of charitable giving. Cash gifts to nonprofit organizations provide tax deductions depending on your tax bracket. If you're in the 35% tax bracket, a $100 gift can reduce your taxes by $35.
Donating appreciated securities including stocks, bonds and mutual fund shares you've owned for more than one year and have appreciated in value provide a full tax deduction for the market value of the investment, plus you avoid paying taxes on the appreciated value. See IRS Publication 526 for information and consult your tax advisor for help.
Giving for Education
For a loved one in your family, contributing to a 529 college savings account is a smart option. If your family’s education needs are met, you may consider helping a low-income woman through JRF. Educational scholarships are an investment in women and their families, helping them to build better lives and conquer poverty. A contribution in any amount helps. If you’d like to provide a named scholarship in honor or memory of a loved one, a $2,500 gift will send a JRF scholar to school for a year.
JRF – Transparency and Lean Operations
At JRF, we strive for lean operations so most of our expenses support our scholarship program for low-income women 35 and older. In 2012, more than 80% of our budget supported program. We publish our 990 tax form on our website for open review by visitors. In addition, JRF is a Guidestar Silver Exchange participant and has earned it’s highest 5-Star rating. You may read donor, scholar and volunteer reviews at the Great NonProfits site.
If you would like more information or would like to speak to JRF staff, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press Release: $10k from Caterpillar Foundation will help low-income women conquer poverty
Athens, Ga. – Caterpillar, a leading manufacturer of heavy equipment, awarded a $10,000 grant through the Caterpillar Foundation to Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund (JRF) to provide scholarships and support to four low-income women 35 and older.
The women will each receive $2,000 scholarships to support them toward their technical and undergraduate programs. The four JRF scholars were selected from hundreds of applicants for the prestigious JRF awards. They live in communities where Caterpillar plants are located: Athens, Ga.; Cary, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; and Minneapolis, Minn. The scholarships can be used for tuition and/or living expenses to best meet the needs of mature, adult students.
Caterpillar and JRF are joined in their goals to promote economic growth, to provide an educated workforce and to contribute to the quality of life and prosperity of communities.
“We are excited to provide assistance to support education as a long-term strategy against poverty,” said Deb Walock, manufacturing engineering manager at Caterpillar Athens and board member at JRF. “The gift of an education lasts a lifetime and these four women's lives will be forever changed.”
“We thank Caterpillar for this wonderful grant because education has the power to transform lives. JRF scholars are overcoming challenges and lifting themselves and their families up out of poverty,” said Sue Lawrence, JRF executive director. “Molly is one of the Caterpillar grant recipients. She rode freight trains across the country to escape poverty and violence in her childhood. Today Molly is turning her life around. She says, ‘Education impacts my quality of life, not just financially but spiritually and emotionally. I have it in my power to break a cycle of poverty and to raise children free from violence.’”
Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund was founded in 1976 and provides scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older to build better lives through college completion. This year, 87 women are receiving scholarships of $2,000 each, which can be used for books, childcare, transportation, utilities, rent, or where needed most. Awards may be renewed for up to five years, so a woman can receive up to $10,000. JRF scholars come from diverse backgrounds, yet they are united in their desire to break the cycle of poverty, better provide for their families and give back to their communities. To learn more about JRF, visit www.rankinfoundation.org.
Caterpillar Inc. is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines and diesel locomotives. The Caterpillar Foundation, founded in 1952, is helping to make sustainable progress possible around the world through support of environmental sustainability, access to education and fulfillment of basic human needs. For more information about Caterpillar, visit www.cat.com. For more information about the Caterpillar Foundation, visit www.caterpillar.com/foundation.
Major Gifts Officer
Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund (JRF) is seeking a dynamic major gifts officer to help JRF provide scholarships and support nationally for low income women ages 35 and older. We’re looking for an innovative and resourceful major gifts fundraiser with passion and commitment to lift up motivated women who are building better lives for themselves and their families.
The Major Gifts Officer will be responsible for soliciting gifts of $1,000 and more for ongoing operations, scholarships, and campaigns by designing and implementing approaches to engage current, lapsed, and new donors around JRF’s core mission and vision. Approximately 90% of her/ his time will be spent contacting, meeting with, or soliciting donors with measurable outcomes as outlined by the Executive Director.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
1. Responsible for soliciting gifts of $1,000-$100,000 and more.
2. Develop and manage a portfolio of 100+ donors and prospects capable of making outright gifts of $2,500 and more and multi-year or planned gifts of $50,000 and more; work with JRF team to formulate a long-range business plan for increasing fundraising significantly over the next five years.
3. Solicit annual scholarships, endowed scholarships, and operating support
4. Establish and carry out donor cultivation and solicitation strategies including personal visits, events, letters, e-mails, and phone calls. Implement a calling schedule averaging 20-30 contacts per month. Qualify and recruit key prospects including individuals, family foundations, corporate foundations and others.
5. Develop multi-year fundraising strategies and goals for selected donors across the U.S.
6. Develop a system for upgrading donors to progressively higher giving levels.
7. Prepare progress reports and funding proposals for select $2,500+ donors.
8. Research donor, program participant, event attendee, and friend pools to identify new prospects.
9. Work collaboratively with the JRF team, board members, and volunteers to meet fundraising targets.
10. Promote and solicit deferred and planned gifts.
11. Travel (up to 50% of time) regularly to engage donors and solicit major gifts.
12. Ensure that fundraising work complies with all regulations and best practices in relation to donor solicitation, acknowledgement and public recognition processes, and capturing donor information in our database.
1. Must be a high energy professional who is a self-starter with a track record of building donor relationships and closing gifts.
2. Three to five years successful experience in major gift fundraising.
3. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college/university; an equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed.
4. Strong interest in the work and mission of Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund and the ability to represent JRF externally to a wide variety of constituents.
5. Superior communication, organizational, and writing skills.
6. Ability to balance the needs and interests of major donors with needs of the organization.
7. Keen sense of personal integrity and discretion.
8. Shows respect and sensitivity for cultural differences and promotes a harassment-free environment.
9. Proficiency with MS Office.
10. Ability to travel.
11. Delightful sense of humor.
How to Apply:
To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, fundraising writing samples and salary requirements to email@example.com. No telephone calls please. JRF is an equal opportunity employer.
Flipping School Inside Out!
In a New York Times blog post, a high school near Detroit became a completely “flipped school.” What is a flipped school? This is a style of teaching where students watch lectures outside of the classroom, at home, on smartphones, or at a public location where computers are available. During class time they receive hands-on experience from what they learned from the videos.
What do you think? Is this a way of teaching that is more relatable to students? Is this something that you would prefer?
The high school in Detroit “flipped” struggling students for 20 weeks. The semester before the flip, 13% were failing. After the flip, no one was failing!
One teacher commented that it is great that he can create interactive lessons in class rather than just talk and pass out handouts. With the students watching videos outside of the classroom, this leaves more time in class to educate and have fun applying the lessons.
I have learned in this type of setting before and I found it beneficial as well. I was able to grasp statistics better (It was hard in both settings!) and learn the background information outside the classroom, so I could apply it in class and really feel comfortable.
One concern for this approach is having technology easily accessible to all students. This method of learning could potentially be out of reach for low-income or nontraditional students. An article in US News addresses these issues and concerns. “One solution to this problem is to provide assistance to students struggling to access the online course content or subsidizing the cost of affordable laptops,” says Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University.
An organization taking a similar approach is Khan Academy. This provides free education for anyone, anywhere. Students view lessons in class and teachers are there to answer additional questions, review progress and evaluate each student in a much more individualized way. This program has turned struggling students into competitors in the classroom. A lot of schools are intrigued with this type of teaching. Harvard and M.I.T. have taken similar approaches.
I think if this type of learning proves to be successful it can be a great alternative for students who are struggling in the traditional way. What do you think?
Supporter Story: Theresa Cullen
When I walked into Theresa Cullen’s home, I was immediately overwhelmed by so many outstanding pieces of pottery all over her kitchen. There were beautiful plates, cups, and bowls, and I wanted to take them all home! I asked if she made all of the pieces and she said, “Yes, I have slowly made pieces and then made so many I started to give them away as gifts!”
Theresa has made a great impact as a volunteer for more than 15 years with JRF. She began as a first-round reader, reviewing scholarship applications and helping to select the women who will receive JRF awards. “It made me realize how important these scholarships are; many women desperately need scholarships to enroll in college and find their way,” she says.
Recently, Theresa found a way to combine her love of pottery with her dedication to help low-income women build better lives through college completion – she launched a website to sell handcrafted lamps, with proceeds benefiting JRF scholars. “I have seen what education can do to people’s lives. It can completely change them.”
Each of her lamps is one of a kind, and Theresa said you never know what it is going to look like after firing it in the kiln - it can be exactly what you wanted or not at all what you expected. The fire affects the colors, and a lot of strategy goes into it through the placement of the lamp inside of the kiln and the temperature. To Theresa, it’s like “opening a present on Christmas morning.” (lamp base right)
Theresa also pointed out how important it is to do something you enjoy that helps other people. “Selling these lamps not only feels good, its feels right. When people buy these lamps it also makes them feel good while spreading the word about JRF.”
Meeting with Theresa that day made me feel so inspired. She was truly an amazing woman. Her spirit just made you feel good about yourself and her home was so welcoming. She has motived me to try pottery, too!
To purchase and view these one of a kind, handcrafted lamps, visit www.cobbstreetlamps.com.