Discovering A Passion for Philanthropy

Published: August 30, 2022 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:
Mike Stallman standing on his front porch.

More than 30 years ago, while working as a CPA for McGladrey LLP, Mike Stallman started on his philanthropic path. A client was in the process of establishing Discovery Living, a local nonprofit helping adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities live meaningful lives in mainstream society. After helping with some of the paperwork, Mike eventually took on a more active role.

“I’ve been on the board there for about 35 years now,” Mike said. “Back then, people didn’t necessarily want group homes in their neighborhoods, so it wasn’t always easy.” Still, the dedicated board and staff were able to grow the organization—today they serve 150 people at 34 Linn County locations.

After more than two decades of donating his time and talents, Mike got an opportunity to give back even more—not only to Discovery Living, but to other organizations he cared about as well.

“We received an annuity from my father and used that and some converted mutual insurance company stock to establish an endowed fund,” Mike said. “We didn’t really need the additional taxable income at that point, and this way we could use it for charitable gifts in the future.”

Opting for an endowed donor-advised fund, Mike was able to make a single tax-deductible gift to the Community Foundation upon receiving the annuity without deciding yet which organizations the fund would support. The flexibility of making annual grant recommendations has allowed him to support organizations that are important to him, including the schools his seven grandchildren attend.

Because the fund is endowed, it will make grants to the community forever, and Mike looks forward to getting his three adult children involved in the process. With a range of family philanthropy services, the Community Foundation can provide guidance as families enter into these discussions.

In fact, the Stallmans have already started having those conversations.

“As we were growing up, both of our parents were quite active in charitable organizations,” said John, Mike son. “We were always encouraged to stay involved and support the community where we could. They set great examples for us kids—and for a lot of others as well.”

Shortly after establishing the donor-advised fund, Mike teamed up with John to establish the Howard H. Cherry Reservation Camp Staff Alumni Fund. The camp serves eastern Iowa scouts and is partially staffed by former scouts who are on summer break from college. John is an Eagle Scout, long-time troop leader, and now a father to young scouts, and he was looking for a way to support the summer camp staff program.

“We looked into establishing a nonprofit for this purpose, but it isn’t easy,” Mike said. “The Community Foundation was a much better option, and this fund now provides scholarships for students who work at the camp.”

The designated fund makes annual distributions to the Hawkeye Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, and those grants support the Camp Staff Alumni Scholarships Program. As an endowed fund, it will make those distributions forever. To date, the fund has provided more than $6,000 in scholarship funding.

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