CRG gets first ‘diamond’ member; Real estate charity’s chief has ties to Peters

Real estate charity has ties to Peters

CRG President and CEO Ron Peters presents a “diamond” member certificate to Realty Gift Fund Chief Financial Officer Chase Magnuson, whose ties to Peters go back years. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Anich)

GLOVERSVILLE — A New Mexico charity has become the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s first $5,000 “diamond” member.

An official of the charity — Realty Gift Fund, based in Santa Fe, N.M. — also toured Fulton County’s abandoned buildings last week in hopes of working with the CRG on possible future projects.

Realty Gift Fund Chief Financial Officer Chase Magnuson, whose relationship with CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters goes back to the 1990s, said his firm tries to assist economic developers across the nation.

“We wanted to reach out with somebody who understands and has the expertise,” Magnuson said.

Peters said the CRG also wants to develop relationships with firms such as Realty Gift Fund to allow the CRG to go “out of our comfort zone.” He said he hopes the CRG’s ties with the charity will continue for future years.

He called the charity’s diamond membership a “wonderful gift” to the CRG.

Peters said Fulton County has the “kind of properties” that the Realty Gift Fund might be interested in being involved in. He said the firm has the resources to bring to the table funding for those projects.

In addition to presenting him with his firm’s “diamond” membership, Peters said the CRG invited Magnuson on Tuesday to “come up and see the community.”

“We can provide outside funding,” Magnuson said. “The charity wants to be spending all of its money. We have investors who are philanthropic in nature.”

According to CRG Executive Assistant Becky Hatcher, Fulton County’s top economic development agency is in a membership drive for 2016-17. She said the CRG currently has 46 members and pledges for membership from about six more businesses.

Before Realty Gift Fund, Hatcher said the CRG’s highest annual membership was a “platinum” membership of $2,500 from Patriot Bank.

Lower membership levels at the CRG are: “personal gold” at $1,000; “silver” at $500; “bronze” at $250; and “associate” level at $100.

As a diamond member, Realty Gift Fund receives –among other benefits — ad space on the CRG website, a mention in CRG broadcast ads and social media, an optional blog page, and up to 16 complimentary passes to CRG’s annual event.

According to its website, Realty Gift Fund is a qualified 501(c)3 formed exclusively to accept charitable gifts of real estate providing real estate owners the opportunity to make a difference in their communities by “giving back” and to receive the potential tax benefits of a charitable donation. Realty Gift Fund is a group of nonprofit and real estate professionals who recognize the problem of real estate donations, and who established Realty Gift Fund to make a meaningful impact on charitable giving through gifts of real estate.

The website states: “The mission of Realty Gift Fund is to promote the charitable giving of real estate by seeking and accepting gifts of real estate of all kinds, fixing underperforming or environmentally impaired properties before converting them to cash, and using the excess cash from our transactions to make gifts and educational grants to other nonprofit organizations. By educating owners, nonprofit leaders and other professionals in the field, RGF hopes to make a meaningful impact on charitable giving through gifts of real estate.”

Magnuson noted that Peters used to be in the real estate business and he met him in the 1990s in Costa Mesa, Calif.

He said Realty Gift Fund is a charity that funds environmental remediation of properties to create jobs. He said the New Mexico firm also has larger projects, such as recent work it has done for the Air Force in the Northeast.

He said no project is too small to develop, as long as people they are working with know what they are doing.

“Frankly, we didn’t want to deal with neophytes,” Magnuson said. “We knew that Ron had that expertise.”

He said Realty Gift Fund offers grants to projects across the nation.

Magnuson has guided tens of of millions of dollars in real estate into charitable gifts, built the real estate arm within the planned giving department of George Washington University, and lists numerous Fortune 500 companies as clients. He is the founder of Real Estate for Charities, the co-author of “The Secret Power Behind Real Estate Donations,” and a past contributor to Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Magnuson is also a well-known national speaker on the charitable giving of real estate.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at