Donor Advised Funds

Tom Hoehn

Hoehn Drainage and Excavating donates excavator to Mankato Area Foundation.

Nancy Zallek has had an interesting career path. From running her family retail business to a nonprofit ballet company to a multi-million dollar community foundation, Zallek has done a lot over the years.

But Zallek, the president and CEO of Mankato Area Foundation, never anticipated she would one day be researching the market value of construction equipment.

“I never know what’s going to happen next when my phone rings,” Zallek said, laughing. “But even this one surprised me.”

The call came from Tom Hoehn, owner of Hoehn Drainage and Excavating. Hoehn had been planning to advertise and sell an excavator once used as part of his business, but when Hoehn told his financial advisor Ryan McKeown of Wealth Enhancement Group of his plans, McKeown suggested Hoehn think outside the box.

Why not donate the excavator to the Mankato Area Foundation?

“Tom’s equipment had recently appreciated in value due to supply and demand,” McKeown said. “And since he had a strong history of charitable giving, I thought he might enjoy and benefit from a creative gift to the Foundation.”

The plan? Donate the excavator, and the Mankato Area Foundation would tap their local relationships to sell the equipment. The proceeds from the sale would then be contributed to a donor advised fund at the Foundation in Hoehn’s name.

It would be a fresh approach for the Mankato Area Foundation, but not a first.

“We have donors gift us non-cash assets all the time,” Zallek said. “We have accepted and sold corn, land, and artwork. So why not construction equipment?”
Hoehn was thrilled about this unique concept.

“I had no idea I could contribute a piece of equipment to our local community foundation,” Hoehn said. “Without Ryan’s creative approach, I would never have thought the sale of my excavator could be used to support my charitable giving goals.”

With the plan in motion, Zallek and her team set to work on the sale of the excavator. It was a surprisingly seamless process which involved learning more about excavating equipment than I ever anticipated, but in the end it was a mutually beneficial transaction.

“Through this process, Tom was able to easily create a donor advised fund, which is our most popular tool for charitable giving,” Zallek said. “Once the equipment is sold, he can grant from his fund, and he can continue to contribute to his fund over time as Tom identifies future projects and programs he cares about.”

Hoehn is excited about the future of his donor advised fund, and he plans to use this fund to support a variety of causes.

“This has opened new doors for me from a philanthropy standpoint,” Hoehn said. “I am looking forward to working with the Mankato Area Foundation and taking advantage of their regional expertise”
As for Zallek, her days as a construction equipment market researcher are likely just beginning.

“Our community is incredibly innovative when it comes to giving back, and I have found that creativity begets creativity,” Zallek said. “I know this will inspire more leaders in the construction industry to think about their charitable goals, and I will be waiting by my phone for that next adventure to start.”