Leslie Mulford: Flexibility with IRA Giving

Leslie Mulford: Flexibility with IRA Giving

By Cristina Medina Dirksen, Communications Coordinator, Community Foundation for Monterey County

Leslie Mulford has always had philanthropy in her life, but she just didn’t recognize it by that word.


The instinct in me has always been to do small things for people who need it,” said Leslie.

Working & Saving

Leslie has worked very hard for her earnings, combining years of study with shifts in careers. She attended law school at night, while working full time, embracing opportunity to move up the professional ranks.

She traversed from her first love as a high school German teacher, to a business career in law and investments at a major insurance company, where she worked until retiring as vice president in 1997, and full circle to a professional translator.

A generous profit-sharing program allowed her to save for retirement – which she is now enjoying – and given her a vehicle to give back through her fund, the Leslie Mulford Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC).

Giving of Time

“I came a little late to understanding philanthropy,” said Leslie. “My husband (Bob Mulford) had been involved in many organizations as an active volunteer and I got exposed to the great needs in the community. Serving on the United Way’s allocation committee was my entry into the nonprofit world.”

Leslie has volunteered for Meals on Wheels, Alliance on Aging and the Carmel Bach Festival where she also sang with the CBF Chorus for 11 years. Leslie also sang with Aria, and other musical groups on the Monterey Peninsula.

Using IRA for Giving – IRA QCD

When she reached the age of 70 ½ (now 72)* she was required to draw on her IRA through her Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). She learned from the CFMC that she could utilize the IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) to satisfy part of her RMD and make donations to her favorite causes.

By gifting her IRA to the CFMC, she was not taxed on the withdrawal, and maintained the tax benefit of lower taxable income overall.

Giving to Areas of Interest

Leslie was already giving to many organizations individually, but not in an organized way. “I knew I wanted to create a fund in my name and specify the things I wanted to support.”

“Dan and Christine took time to talk and explore a different way of giving that made sense and clicked,” she said.

Leslie chose to create the Leslie Mulford Fund to benefit her areas of interest. Grants from the fund now support: at risk youth, elderly services, music in schools, literacy and disaster relief.


With an IRA QCD, donors can designate specific nonprofits through a designated fund or areas of interest through a field of interest fund. (Gifts to donor advised funds are not eligible).

“The appeal to me is that I can change those areas of interest at any time,” said Mulford, who just moved to Orange County with her husband.

You never know what the future holds, a flexible fund like this allows me to change my giving according to future needs.” – Leslie Mulford

A Planned Gift for the Future

Leslie also made the decision to make a planned endowed gift naming the fund as a beneficiary of her IRA, ensuring that her legacy of giving will continue.

For more information about Qualified Charitable Distributions or including charitable giving in your estate , contact Christine Dawson at (831) 375-9712 or visit www.cfmco.org/donors/giving-options Learn about our donors at www.cfmco.org/donors/donor-stories.

*The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) became law on December 20, 2019. The Secure Act made major changes to the RMD rules. If you reached the age of 70½ in 2019 the prior rule applies, and you must take your first RMD by April 1, 2020. If you reach age 70 ½ in 2020 or later you must take your first RMD by April 1 of the year after you reach 72.

Cristina Medina Dirksen is the Communications Coordinator at the Community Foundation for Monterey County, where she oversees social media, website support, blogs and content creation and development for CFMC publications. She can be reached at (831) 375-9712 x110.