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A Vision to Leave a Legacy: Endowment Builds a Strong Foundation for the Future

It all started with a vision—the creation of a foundation that would raise funds to renovate and preserve the deteriorating facility known as the Iowa State Fairgrounds. With the backing of the Fair board, Executive Director John Putney put the vision on paper and started the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation.

The goal of raising $30 million in 10 years to address the most pressing repairs was lofty in a time of economic instability. Through many avenues and generous individual support, however, we have now raised more than $100 million.

While there is still much to be done, the success of the Foundation's efforts is apparent as our Fairgrounds are the envy of all in the industry.

"Thanks to all of you, we have re-established the Iowa State Fair and her home, the Fairgrounds, as a source of pride for all Iowans. We must never again allow this institution to fall into the state of disrepair that encumbered us not that many years ago," John says.

Now it is time to protect the investment we have all made in our beloved Fairgrounds. While the vision stays strong, what is our legacy?

In April 2011, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill significant to the future of the Iowa State Fair. This bill authorized the Foundation to establish an endowment designed to assure perpetual funding for maintenance and improvement projects.

"Building an endowment fund to a level in which the dollars given will yield an annual dividend used for the upkeep of the wonderful 100-plus-year-old structures on the grounds will benefit the Iowa State Fair and the people who love it tremendously," says Gary Slater, Iowa State Fair CEO. "A gift to the endowment is a perpetual gift, a legacy given to the people of Iowa for generations to come."

Alan Brown, president of the Fair board, says, "The endowment fund is going to grow into one of the greatest financial assets of the Fair. To have the opportunity to offer this option to the generous people of Iowa who love the Fair helps ensure the continued growth and success of our internationally recognized event."

Then, Now and Tomorrow
Everything starts small, with a vision. The first Iowa State Fair was a three-day event drawing 8,500 people. Today it is 11 days with an attendance topping 1 million.

"Our donors will play a critical role in restoring and preserving all aspects of our historic Fairgrounds when they support the endowment," explains incoming Foundation Executive Director Peter Cownie. "It is an opportunity to leave a legacy that will benefit all those who love the Iowa State Fair forever."

Simply stated, it is our Fair's future.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I, [name], of [city, state ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to the Blue Ribbon Foundation or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the Blue Ribbon Foundation as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the Blue Ribbon Foundation as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and the Blue Ribbon Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the Blue Ribbon Foundation and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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