Morgensterns give stock to benefit seven nonprofits

Ann and Jack Morgenstern share a moment at the counter of Annie’s Sweet Shop located in Jack’s Hangar.

Photo courtesy of Carrie Mantooth

Jack and Ann Morgenstern gave an early Christmas gift of more than $22,000 to seven local organizations.

The couple transferred stock to the Central Montana Foundation portfolio with instructions that it be sold and the proceeds gifted to the Boys and Girls Club of Lewistown, Friends of the Pool, Creekside Marketplace and Pavilion, Central Montana Medical Center Hospice, Central Montana Youth Mentoring Program, Veterans Memorial Park and Young People in Recovery.

The couple have a long record of giving to Central Montana nonprofits, and Ann explained why: “We feel we’re very blessed to live here and to have raised our children here and to be in a position to be able to give back to the community.”

Jack and Ann said they adhere to what they call the “three Ps of giving.”

 

Three Ps of giving

Personal: “We feel a sincere obligation to help the community be well-endowed and successful,” Jack said. He talked about the enormous amount of pride they have in Central Montana and enjoy showing off its successes to visiting friends and family. “We like to show them the essence of the community and boast about it, but we want to have contributed to that success.”

Practical: Jack and Ann’s main reasons for giving are intrinsic to their generous and thankful natures, but savings on taxes is a great side benefit. The Morgensterns have taken advantage of the Montana Endowment Tax Credit over the years. The bill provides Montana individuals and businesses that give to a permanent endowment with a qualified charitable institution like CMF a tax credit in addition to the federal tax deduction for charitable giving. Giving an appreciated asset like stock is also an easy way to help charitable causes while earning a tax deduction.

Political: “I think most people believe we can care for each other much more effectively than the government can,” Jack said. “The philosophy of charitable organizations and charitable foundations fit what I consider the makings of a healthy society.”

The Morgensterns have lived in Lewistown since 1977 when Jack decided to headquarter his business, Century Paving, here. He founded the company in 1976 as a mobile business, but decided to open up shop in Lewistown because of its centralized location. Back then they had 12 employees. Jack grew the company exponentially and Century Companies, Inc., now has 170 employees working in five states.

Jack retired from Century Companies a few years ago but continues to serve on its board. He’s proud to say that although it took lots of planning and years to accomplish, the company was purchased by a group of eight of the management employees led by Tim Robertson. And, he stressed, Century Companies continues to show “corporate generosity” in its support of many Central Montana projects.

Much of Century’s success can be attributed to owners who truly care about their employees. As Century grew, Jack recognized the need for quality healthcare coverage and retirement benefits and helped lead efforts to create the Montana Contractors Association Healthcare and Retirement Trusts. The group now benefits 3,000 contracting employees, 7,000, counting family members. Jack served on the board of directors for many years.

Jack’s definition of retirement is a bit non-traditional. He’s an active partner in another successful business with his brother, Dick Morgenstern, with EverLog Systems, located in Jack’s hometown of Missoula. The company uses patented technologies in their concrete log home construction and siding industry. “It fulfills the need to be doing something business-wise since I retired from Century.”

Jack is also busy managing Jack’s Hangar, where they host about 25 nonprofit events every year. Jack, who has been a pilot for many years, said he decided to build the hangar because he was tired of working out of a cold hangar. His original vision was a place to house three planes, but his imagination took off and he decided to build a 10,000 square foot facility he could share with the community. The project was finished in 2005 and included a spacious office space for Jack, and the beloved “Annie’s Fizz Biz,” where guests enjoy a variety of delicious concoctions at the old-fashioned soda fountain.

“The hangar fits a niche,” Jack explained. 

The Morgensterns don’t charge the nonprofits that hold events in the hangar and said it’s one more way they can give to the community.

The Morgensterns have traveled extensively through the years and Jack’s construction career has acquainted them with many small communities similar to Lewistown. And, according to Jack and Ann, Lewistown and Central Montana are at the top of the list for pride in the community and support of local projects.

“This community has been built by charitable giving,” Jack said. “We’re proud to be part of that.”

For more information about giving to CMF, call 538-6130.

 

Editor’s note: This story was reprinted by request from “The Roundup,” Winter 2017 issue.

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