This month we welcome Doug and Nancy Verdier’s park story to the blog. Doug and Nancy have been supporting the Parks Foundation since 2008. We are grateful for long-time donors like them. Their support has also included critical volunteer work including Doug taking photos of the Water Works project as construction progresses.
Recently, Doug and Nancy have been donating through both qualified charitable distributions from an IRA and from their donor advised fund. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation as a 501(c)(3) can accept these donations at any time throughout the year. Gifts from donor advised funds have become more popular in recent years and the Parks Foundation works with corporate and community foundations to help donor advisers make their gift.
[Related Content: There are many ways to support the parks you love]
Doug and Nancy also give through a qualified charitable distribution which is a wonderful way to give for donors 70 1/2 or older to give to their favorite charity. It is a simple process of requesting your IRA distribution to go directly to a charity (like the Parks Foundation!). They are a great way to support your favorite non-profit while often giving a tax benefit to you.*
A favorite childhood memory of being in a park:
(Doug): I grew up in Waynesboro, a small town in South Central Pennsylvania, in the late 1940s and 1950s. Our Memorial Park included a large green space with baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, picnic areas and a paved walking trail. One corner of the park had a grassy slope where kids could roll down the hill in summer and sled in winter.
As the name implied, Memorial Park included a large area dedicated to remembering those who had served the country in war. A stone wall on one side of that area contained several large bronze plaques listing the names of town residents who died in wars from the Revolutionary War to the present day. In front of the wall was a tall flagpole where the American flag always flew. As a young kid, I did not really grasp the significance of our annual Memorial Day ceremonies there. I was more focused on playing Little League baseball on the field near the war memorial area. Today I have a greater understanding and appreciation for the permanent recognition of the veterans whose names are on those bronze plaques in the park. I’m grateful that Waynesboro has a Memorial Park, and I’m glad for the memories of growing up there.
(Nancy): When I was 4 years old, living in northern California, my family took a trip to Yosemite National Park. I remember the enthusiastic, reverential way my parents spoke of the soaring redwood trees, rugged mountains and breathtaking waterfalls. They wanted me to know how special this beautiful place was. As a result, the love of parks—large and small—has continued to grow throughout my life.
During my childhood, my family camped often in Virginia state parks and Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. On a cross-country family trip, I remember my mother commenting on how the Midwest has always had the nicest city parks for families to enjoy. Today, my middle-aged daughters are passing on that family passion for parks to yet another generation!
What park experiences do you like to share with out-of-town guests?
We love to take visiting family members and guests to Minnehaha Regional Park. The shady trees, beautiful waterfall and lively park café make a fun, refreshing activity for visitors.
We also enjoy strolling with guests through Father Hennepin Park. The combination of abundant trees, walking paths filled with folks of all ages, and proximity to restaurants along the scenic brick-covered Main Street make this a favorite location for family and friends.
Why do you support the Minneapolis Parks Foundation?
(Doug): I appreciate that the founders of Minneapolis included parks in their plans for the city. They obviously recognized the value of places to recreate and enjoy nature. That need exists today even more than it did in the early days of the city. Parks contribute in so many ways to the quality of life for everyone. But in order to continue to do that, they must be maintained and often improved. That takes planning and resources. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation has a key role in keeping our park system healthy, safe and beautiful.
Nancy and I are glad to support the mission of the Parks Foundation in a number of ways. First, we contribute financially. I designate the Parks Foundation as a recipient of Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) from my Individual Retirement Account. It’s a great way to support the parks, and it helps reduce the taxes on my IRA distributions. Nancy created a donor-advised fund through Schwab Charitable. She put some of her investments into that fund, thus reducing our taxable income. And now, each year, she can request that dollars in that fund be directed to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. It’s a win-win!
Another way that I support the parks is through conversations with neighbors, friends and visitors. For the past several years, I’ve been involved with the Parks Foundation in support of the new Water Works Park project underway across the street from our condo on First Street. I did this through articles I wrote for our condo newsletter, informing my neighbors of the evolving plans for the new park and encouraging them to get involved by participating in community information presentations as well as making donations to the project. To that end, I organized presentations by Parks Foundation staff the past three years for our condo residents to update them on the plans and progress and give residents an opportunity to provide staff with comments and feedback on the park design and amenities. Since construction has been underway, I have been taking photos of the construction at the site and providing them to the Foundation for use in their publications and website.
[Related Content: Water Works parks construction updates]
Nancy and I enjoy watching the day-to-day activity at the site and look forward to seeing the new park emerge from what once was an abandoned building and gravel parking lot. It’s going to be a beautiful, well-designed attraction along our riverfront. We are proud to be a part of that transformation and will enjoy frequent visits to Water Works Park.
*This is not financial advice. Please consult with a professional financial advisor.
Featured image: Courtesy of Doug and Nancy