Not your average philanthropists: From humble beginnings, couple leaves lasting endowment

Nov. 22, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. 

As afternoon fades into evening, a line begins to form outside The Banquet on East Eighth Street. As the clock ticks, the line grows longer, bending around the corner and stretching down the sidewalk.

Young families. Elderly couples. Single people — they all wait patiently for 6 p.m. when the doors open for dinner. Once inside, they enter a new line where eventually they’ll receive a tray on which they can carry a hot meal and a cold glass of milk.

As the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, those at The Banquet know the lines will only grow longer.

It’s why The Banquet, along with hundreds of nonprofits throughout Sioux Falls, is continuously gearing up to help those it serves — not only through the holiday season but also through the cold-weather months ahead.

And, like most of us know, philanthropic support is key to helping The Banquet and every other nonprofit carry out their missions.

But you might not know that plans made years ago are providing essential annual support for nonprofits throughout our community today, supporting their daily operations and ensuring their long-term sustainability.

Ensuring sustainability

Earlier this year, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation organized the delivery of more than $1.3 million in checks to 114 local nonprofits as part of its annual endowment distribution process.

Beyond the annual financial support endowments provide, they also serve to honor the legacy of the donors who establish them.

“An endowment is designed to enable someone to continue supporting the causes and organizations they care about, even after their life,” said Mary Kolsrud, the Community Foundation’s vice president for philanthropy. “Ultimately, endowments are a reflection of one’s values and passions, of the legacy for which someone wishes to be remembered.”

In addition to the endowments created by individuals and families, the Community Foundation also serves as the steward for more than 140 organizational endowments created by nonprofits to provide long-term, stable sources of annual revenue, ensuring continued sustainability while allowing staff to focus on advancing their mission.

An endowment is a model that provides a permanent source of financial support for the designated organization, Kolsrud said. The Community Foundation’s endowment formula features distributions of up to 5 percent from the fund’s average balance, distributed annually.

A legacy of care

The Leo and Hazel Reppert Endowment is just one example of how an endowment honors the charitable wishes of donors while providing important annual support for nonprofit organizations.

Leo and Hazel Reppert came from humble beginnings. After they married in 1936, they began working in Sioux Falls — saving up for a shared dream of one day owning their own farm.

Their hard work paid off and, eventually, Leo and Hazel purchased farmland south of Baltic. Over the next 40 years, they worked together to build successful hog, dairy and cattle operations.

Having no children of their own, Hazel made the decision after Leo passed away to leave a portion of their estate to charity.

After Hazel’s passing, the couple’s farm, which was located at what is now the intersection of Benson and Marion roads, was sold, and its proceeds were divided among their beneficiaries — one of which was the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

Today, the Leo and Hazel Reppert Endowment at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation provides annual distributions to a number of local nonprofits, including The Banquet — an organization which held special meaning to both Leo and Hazel who, their friends said, “understood what it was to be hungry.”

The annual distribution from the Reppert Endowment provides important annual support for The Banquet — ensuring its ability to provide daily meals for individuals and families in need, said executive director Tamera Jerke-Liesinger. The support also allows The Banquet team to focus on advancing its mission to nourish a growing community. In 2018, The Banquet served nearly 200,000 meals — more than 27,000 of which were served to children younger than 12.

“Yearly financial gifts, like the ones we receive from the Reppert Endowment, are critical to keeping The Banquet doors open. These funds are even more important now with our expansion into northwest Sioux Falls where we will be serving five weekly evening meals to hundreds of families living in poverty in the Hayward neighborhood,” Jerke-Liesinger said.

Kolsrud said the ability to help a donor establish an endowment that carries out his or her legacy while also supporting a local nonprofit is “beyond heart-warming.”

“At the Community Foundation, the magic happens when we are able to help donors create their legacies by crafting a plan to help them support their favorite charities now and far into the future. When we get to align interests with needs and all the pieces come together, it’s a beautiful testament to what makes this city so great.”

Another way to support nonprofits: Donor-advised funds

In addition to its organizational endowment held at the Community Foundation, The Banquet also benefits from donors who are passionate about its mission, many of whom direct gifts to the organization through donor-advised funds held at the Community Foundation.

Donor-advised funds are convenient and flexible giving vehicles designed to help donors simplify and maximize their current giving, Kolsrud explained. They also offer significant tax benefits.

“You make a tax-deductible contribution when it financially makes sense. From there, you can recommend grants to different nonprofits when the time is right,” she said.

As year-end approaches, Kolsrud said the Community Foundation typically sees individuals and families express an interest in learning more about donor-advised funds.

“The advantages offered by donor-advised funds are many, but most significant is this: Because donor-advised funds are administered by the Community Foundation, you receive the full tax benefit when you contribute to the fund. For those who find themselves in a financial windfall, either from the sale of a business, year-end bonus or other situations, donor-advised funds work well because they offer the flexibility to delay decisions on where to direct your charitable gifts in order to develop a more strategic and impactful strategy over time.”

What are your charitable wishes?

The Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation has been uniting passion with purpose for more than 35 years, offering a number of options for passionate individuals, families and businesses who want to be active, purposeful philanthropists.

Perhaps you’re thinking about how to support the nonprofits and causes you care about after your life. You may be interested in learning about planned giving options. Or as year-end approaches, perhaps you’re expecting a bonus or a high-income tax year but need more time to thoughtfully consider your philanthropic strategy before Dec. 31. A donor-advised fund could be right for you. If any of these ring true, the Community Foundation can be a helpful companion. Contact the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation today at 605-336-7055 or to learn more.

We know that every situation is unique. Remember to talk to your tax adviser before making any charitable gift.

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Not your average philanthropists: From humble beginnings, couple leaves lasting endowment

This couple “understood what it meant to be hungry” and made sure they left a legacy to help feed others. Here’s how you could do the same.

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