Keeping wealth in Red Willow County

As the crow flies, 345 miles separate Girard, Kansas and Cambridge, Nebraska. A trip by road, about 460 miles, takes seven hours on average. But distance has no bearing on planned gifts.

Mike Bodensteiner grew up in Lincoln and lives in Girard, but he wanted to be sure a portion of the wealth created by the family farm he now owns near Cambridge stays in Red Willow County.

“It’s our small way of recognizing that southwest Nebraska has been an important part of our family,” he said.

Bodensteiner found Nebraska Community Foundation by chance. During a visit to his mother’s home, he saw a Nebraska Life magazine. While thumbing through its pages, he landed on an ad for Nebraska Community Foundation’s gift planning campaign, 5 to Thrive. The initiative asks Nebraskans (and in Bodensteiner’s case, people with connections to Nebraska) to leave just 5% of their estate to their communities. A small request, but one that could secure billions of dollars for Greater Nebraska over the next decade and beyond.

The wealth transferring between generations could trigger a monumental shift in the future of Greater Nebraska. Overall, more than $100 billion will transfer in the next 10 years – through the next 50 years, that number jumps to $950 billion. In Red Willow County alone, $608 million is expected to transfer in the next decade. Just 5% of that—$30 million—could make a huge difference in the county’s future.

Keeping wealth where it was generated is important to Bodensteiner and his wife, Shelly. “I’m really sensitive to the transfer of wealth out of rural areas.”

So, he reached out to NCF, quickly connecting with Gift Planning Director Todd Mekelburg. Bodensteiner appreciated NCF’s detail-oriented approach and willingness to help create a gift that would conform to his vision. He and his wife, Shelly, had been looking for a charitable organization they felt they could trust, and they felt aligned with their view of long term change. Nebraska Community Foundation fit well.

“They answered the phone, they listened, and they thanked me,” Bodensteiner said.

The Bodensteiners’ arranged to put a portion of the proceeds of the farm estate’s eventual sale into an affiliated fund dedicated to fostering youth leadership opportunities in Red Willow County. They understand that people make communities vibrant and resilient, and they want to contribute to the development of the next generation of leaders in the area. A call with Dale Dueland, Red Willow County resident and member of NCF’s board of directors, solidified his trust in NCF.

“I am increasingly confident that the essence of what we’re trying to do will live on in southwest Nebraska,” Bodensteiner said.

Charitable gift planning allows people to provide for the future of their family and their community. The website has an abundance of resources on tax-wise charitable gift planning, including gift planning calculators, stories of donor impact, and a free downloadable wills guide.

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