Siberts’ Challenge Grant Creates Endowment in Red Cloud
Frank and Shirley Sibert
An attitude of gratitude prompted Frank and Shirley Sibert, former longtime residents of Valentine, in north-central Nebraska, to give a $100,000 gift of appreciated securities to the Red Cloud Community Foundation Fund, an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation and their hometown, in south-central Nebraska.
“The reason we were interested in doing something for Red Cloud is that we’re indebted to Red Cloud,” said Frank. “You learn your values of life when you’re young, and that community got me headed down the right trail. It gave me jobs—kept me from starving to death.” Frank worked for several businesses in the community during his formative years.
In return, the Siberts made their gift as a challenge grant, asking residents and former residents of Red Cloud to match the amount to build an unrestricted endowment that would provide annual grants for community development and betterment projects. The Red Cloud community responded to the challenge by matching the grant, during the following year.
Frank and Shirley married in Red Cloud in 1952. Their life together has taken them to several communities in Nebraska. Frank worked for the U. S. Department of Agriculture Extension Service in Lincoln for a couple of years. Then an opportunity to run the Sandhills Cattle Association arose, and Frank and Shirley moved to Valentine, where they lived for 10 years. A mentor found an opening at the Stockyards National Bank in Omaha, and they moved again in 1964 and stayed 15 years.
When a ranch near Valentine went on the market, Frank and Shirley opted for another change and bought the property. Frank backed up their transition with a real estate agent’s license, “just in case things didn’t work out.” That decision itself hints at his considerable business acumen: Take risks, but minimize the down side.
The Rolling Stone Ranch produced enough capital that the Siberts bought the neighboring ranch, and when they sold both properties, they invested in the stock market. As a result of their success and a bit of luck, Frank said, they have been able to donate to several charities by giving appreciated stock. “It’s good business. You get a tax deduction and no capital gains. It’s a win-win situation.”
Having no children to inherit their assets, the Siberts have made a gift to set up a Charitable Remainder Trust, which provides them with income and, upon their deaths, the remainder of the trust will be placed into a donor-advised fund with the Nebraska Community Foundation. The Fund Advisory Committee of the fund, consisting of trusted friends, will suggest to the Nebraska Community Foundation the various charities that the Siberts have indicated they would like to support with grants from the donor-advised fund.
Fortunate to have accumulated adequate resources to live on, the Siberts believe, there’s no reason to pile up wealth. Earning it is more fun that having it. Or, as Frank puts it, “The joy is in the wanting, not the getting.”
Still, he maintains that the more you give away the better you do and suggests that others would themselves benefit at the same time they give to their community. Aside from the financial advantages of making charitable donations, there is the feeling of satisfaction that comes from finding a way to repay one’s community—or communities. The Siberts know from first-hand experience. “It’s very rewarding to do these things,” Frank said. “It’s wonderful.”