With Smart Giving, the Munsons Maximize Their Charitable Impact

When friends are struggling to figure out how to cope with cancer treatment and the logistics of being away from home, Shelby-area wheat farmers Larry and Hazel Munson tell them to check out Gift of Life Housing, which provides a free place to stay for people who travel to Benefis for cancer treatment.

The Munsons do more than sing the praises of the program. They also support it financially through Benefis Foundation. 

By now the Munsons’ broker knows to call in December to check in on the charities the couple wants to support. Minimum distributions need to be set by the last day of the year and go directly from an IRA account to charitable recipients such as Benefis Foundation.

When Hazel was in cancer treatment that included daily radiation and chemotherapy for six weeks, the Gift of Life House became their home off the farm. 

“I could never have done treatment and gone home and back 100 miles each way,” Hazel said. “I was just totally worn out. With Gift of Life, I could wake up, walk over to treatment, and not have to travel two hours there and two hours back.”

“It worked well, and they took good care of us,” Larry said. 

The Munsons have given faithfully to Benefis Foundation, and other causes, since turning 70½ and needing to make minimum distributions from their IRA accounts.

“I never see the money, and there’s no tax to be paid by either party,” Larry said. “I believe it’s a good way to give more than you could otherwise.”

The Munsons don’t usually designate what they’d like their donations to Benefis Foundation to support but said the Gift of Life has a special place in their hearts.

Your Savings. Your Legacy. Your Gift.

If you are 70½ or older, you can make philanthropic gifts from traditional and Roth IRA accounts without it counting as taxable income.
 • Avoid taxes on transfers of up to $100,000 from your IRA to support northcentral Montanans through their healthcare journeys. 
 • May satisfy some or all of your required minimum distributions for the year.
 • Reduce your taxable income, even if you do not itemize deductions.
 • Make a gift that is not subject to the deduction limits on charitable gifts.
 • Use your rollover to make existing payments on an existing pledge to Benefis Foundation.

To make such gifts, the money needs to come directly from an IRA to a qualifying charity such as Benefis Foundation. For those with check-writing privileges on their accounts, this may be the most efficient way to make gifts directly from an IRA. 

Please check with us, your IRA administrator, or your tax advisor for more information. 

Have you remembered to support your favorite fund in your estate planning? 

The Foundation can be a beneficiary or partial beneficiary of a life insurance policy, IRA, or property. Some ideas for your year-end giving:
 • Land and other real estate
 • Commodities
 • Gifts from an IRA
 • Appreciated stock
 • A paid-up life insurance policy you no longer need

Ask about ways to leverage the Montana Endowment Tax Credit to reduce state income tax. We’d love to share information about that program on gifts that can provide an income stream for you and your family. Please call Benefis Foundation at (406) 455-5836.