2020 Report to the Community Donor Highlight: Malchow Family Farm Fund

Philanthropic Services Group

The Denver Foundation

From affinity groups to donor-advised funds, Denver Foundation donors expanded and adapted their giving to meet urgent needs.

Just off Highway 287 outside of Berthoud sits the farm where Peggy Malchow and her siblings spent their childhood. With its iconic big, red barn, the farm sustained the family in many ways: They raised cows, sheep, and ducks, made butter, bread, and ice cream. They grew grain to feed the animals. Their father sold sugar beets, vegetables, and milk.

Growing up, Peggy knew the land had once belonged to the Arapahoe and Cheyenne people; her father sometimes found arrowheads in the ground. In college, as Peggy learned more about Native Americans, she volunteered with advocacy and service groups. And after the sale of the farm in 2016, she used her share of proceeds to establish a donor-advised fund at The Denver Foundation, focused on “what Native Americans need and what they’ve been through,” she says.

“It’s not generosity,” she says. “It’s reparations and gratitude for what that land gave to me and my family.”

In June, The Malchow Family Farm Fund made a grant to secure PPE for the Northern Arapahoe Tribe in Wind River, Wyoming. Across the country, Native Americans have been hit hard by COVID-19, with the eldery at extremely high risk.

“They told me, ‘Our elderly are our tribe’s greatest asset, their wisdom and knowledge and life experience is treasured and valued, and they’re the most vulnerable people at this time,’” she says.

In collaboration with The Denver Foundation, Peggy learned that in addition to traditional disbursements through donor-advised funds, it’s possible for some donors to make Required Minimum Distributions to tribes through IRAs — a message she shares with other philanthropists.

“All of us in Colorado are living on what used to be Native American land,” she says. “I like to get people thinking about helping the tribes, as reparations for all that has been taken from them.”

Read Meeting the Moment: A 2020 Report to the Community. 


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