In his current work with Rudman & Winchell and previous solo practice, estate and trusts attorney Nathan “Pete” Dane has worked with the Maine Community Foundation to help clients make the most of their charitable visions. In conversation with Jennifer Southard, MaineCF’s vice president, donor services and gift planning, Dane describes their teamwork.
Jennifer Southard: How did you first hear about the Maine Community Foundation?
Nathan Dane: It came about through the death of a friend’s daughter. The family wanted to set up a scholarship fund in her memory, and I helped administer it for the first couple of years. Over time, the family found the administration to be a burden. The community foundation assumed stewardship of the scholarship, which was a wonderful solution. Annual awards continue to be made to students interested in the arts, and the family deeply appreciates the fact that the fund they established in their child’s name is having an ongoing impact on youth in the area.
MaineCF: You were a solo practitioner for many years. Do you have any advice for your colleagues?
Nathan Dane: As a solo practitioner one thinks that with enough effort, energy, and devotion one can do it all. And while theoretically possible perhaps, it’s never easy. In the area of trusts and estates, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of administering a charitable trust, I’ve learned that one can turn to others to handle the management. I have clients with many different interests, and the ability of the community foundation to custom design a fund and fill in the administrative blanks is a big help.
MaineCF: Establishing a trust can be complicated. Any examples come to mind?
Nathan Dane: A now deceased client wished to set up a trust to support fledgling conservation groups in her region. She did not want to give the funds directly to these young organizations, but did want to help them on an ongoing basis. At the same time, the assets needed to establish the trust were tied up in a family partnership. The only viable plan was to negotiate a sale of the client’s interest to other family members, and any such sale would result in a long-term note, which is not an attractive asset for most organizations.
We approached the community foundation, which was willing to participate in the arrangement as long as we were willing to help insure that the note would eventually be paid. The note has now been paid, and the proceeds constitute a significant fund for carrying out the client’s dreams.
MaineCF: So the community foundation can serve as an alternative to a private foundation.
Nathan Dane: Exactly. The community foundation is perfect for people who do not wish to devote the substantial funds required to actually set up the administrative apparatus required for a successful private foundation, yet want to support, on an ongoing basis, those charitable activities in their community which excite them. In the Maine Community Foundation they have an organization that will always be there to insure those plans are conscientiously carried out.
Nathan “Pete” Dane III is a 1965 graduate of Bowdoin College, spent two years in the Army, and later organized migrant farm laborers in the Missouri Delta region as a volunteer for Missions. He graduated from St. Louis University School of Law. Prior to joining Rudman & Winchell, he practiced law in Bangor for 32 years. He served on the Board of Directors of Amicus, Bangor Symphony, and the Penobscot Foundation for Developmental Services. As a resident of Deer Isle, he is on the board of Island Heritage Trust and the community advisory board of Opera House Arts, and has served on the Vestry of St. Brendan the Navigator Episcopal Church. He was a member of the Ethics Commission of the Maine Board of Bar Overseers for nine years.