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Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015

Soil and Water to create endowment

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nathan Stoelting administers the oath of office to Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Kerry Ames during the annual meeting Friday morning.
GREENCASTLE -- Over the last several years, the budget of the Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District has been cut by 40 percent, leaving the organization scrambling to provide services.

One solution to their budgetary problems is the creation of an endowment with the Putnam County Foundation. Executive Director Elaine Peck spoke at their annual meeting Friday morning about the effectiveness of such funds.

"For $45,000 in annual revenues, it takes a $1 million endowment," explained Peck. "It sounds difficult, but let me give you some examples."

She went on to talk about the Foundation itself. Over 25 years ago, it had under $2,000. Now it has over $19 million dollars.

"And that is after giving out $7 million in scholarships and grants," said Peck.

Another example, given by Peck, of an organization able to grow their endowment is the Putnam County Museum that started with a $10,000 endowment gift.

"Fifteen years later, their endowment is half a million dollars," said Peck.

She went on to talk about the many ways and reasons to make charitable donations to endowments. These include reducing income tax, avoiding capital-gain tax on gifts of long-term appreciated property, retaining a stream of payments for life for donors and beneficiaries, eliminating federal estate tax on property passing to charity and reducing costs and time in estate settlements.

Cash gifts have been donated by the Soil and Water board of supervisors to the tune of $4,600 over the past six months to their new endowment. Now it's up to the community to help the organization.

The Soil and Water Conservation District works to conserve land in Putnam County. They have partnerships with the USDA Farm Service, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Sycamore Trails Resource conservation and Development and the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service.

They have additional partnerships with the Cattlemen's Association, Little Walnut Creek Conservancy District, Pork Producers, Quail Unlimited and the Wild Turkey Federation, all in the quest to promote conservation of natural resources.

Their specific resource concerns deal with soil erosion, water quality, loss of farmland to development, fish and wildlife protection, woodlands, lack of agriculture/urban interface, wetlands, flood control improvement, cropland, pasture land and livestock.

"As land uses change, methods to control soil erosion and managing natural resources protection becomes paramount issues for the Putnam County SWCD," say officials.

Management of these resources affects the quality of life in Putnam County and will do so for generations to come.

"Would you give a generous gift if it wouldn't hurt your business or might even help you,?" challenged Peck to those in attendance.

For information about ways to make donations and how they benefit families or beneficiaries or in making a donation to the Putnam County SWCD contact the Putnam County Foundation at 653-4978 or visiting their Web site at www.pcfoundation.org.

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