Antons Charitable IRA Rollover Benefits Conservation
“This is Grant Wood Country,” says Pauline Antons, looking across the 200 lush, green acres of her century farm. It was her love of the land that moved Antons to make her first charitable IRA rollover gift in 2013, when an organization close to her heart was raising funds to start an endowment through the Jones County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.
The Jones Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), created in 1942, strives to help landowners implement conservation practices on their land and provides guidance and financial assistance to ensure the sustainability of such practices. Antons has served the district since 1990 as both commissioner and assistant commissioner, so when the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque presented the opportunity for SWCD to start an endowment, she did what she could to help.
“We have to save the soil and preserve it for the next generation — that means water quality, the environment, everything,” she explains. “The IRA rollover is an excellent way to make a gift, and there are tax advantages.”
People age 70½ and older can transfer up to $100,000 per year from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to charity — without incurring federal income taxes today or estate and income taxes in the future. Gifts to endowments may also be eligible for the Endow Iowa 25% State Tax Credit. Antons’ gift helped establish the SWCD endowment, which is invested and will grow over time. The endowment provides an annual payout so that SWCD can continue to address conservation needs forever, ensuring the preservation of the land Antons holds so dear.
Antons grew up on a farm south of Monticello and studied at the University of Dubuque. She spent 36 years as a math teacher at several schools in the area, so for her, education is another key issue. In her role at the SWCD, she manages a scholarship program and a teaching award program. She has served the Limestone Bluffs Resource Conservation & Development group since the 1990s and has helped write grants for economic development and conservation throughout the group’s six-county region.