Donors establish funds at the Community Foundation for many reasons. Here are a few:
Permanence and stability
Many donors want to know that the things they care about—a place, a community service, an institution—will be supported long after they are gone. The Community Foundation exists as a community savings account making sure that your gift will do good work, now and in the future. The Foundation honors and protects the intentions of its donors in perpetuity.
Establishing a fund allows you to address multiple interests. The Community Foundation supports a broad base of community projects and services, including the arts, the environment, health and human services, women's issues, economic development, literacy, and youth.
You may design your gift around general or very specific goals. Many donors place no restrictions on how funds are to be used. Even if the current intent of your gift becomes obsolete, the Community Foundation will ensure that the fund continues to address emerging community needs. For more information on the unique structural feature that makes this flexibility possible, learn about the variance power (below) that is a part of each of our fund agreements.
Recognition or anonymity
The Community Foundation will make grants from your fund respectful to your wishes. Some donors put their names or their families' names on their fund. Others put names on their funds which mask their identity as the donors. We can even accommodate special requests for anonymity.
Contributions to the Community Foundation, a public charity, qualify for maximum deductibility for income, gift and estate tax purposes, i.e. 50% of adjusted gross income. Donors who create endowed funds, pass-through funds, charitable remainder trusts, or gift annuities receive an income tax deduction that can be spread over up to six years if the gift exceeds the allowable annual limits.
Experienced investment and grant management
The Community Foundation takes its stewardship responsibility very seriously. We are determined to protect and enhance our assets and yours over the long term. To design and implement our investment strategies we seek counsel from an investment committee of board and community members with investment expertise. The committee, in turn, retains professional investment advisors who recommend appropriate asset allocation, select asset managers, and monitor performance while exercising portfolio discipline. Most gifts to a community foundation are pooled for investment purposes to maximize economies of scale, a fully diversified portfolio, and first class investment counsel. Click here to see information regarding our investment policies and performance data.
The Community Foundation affords you the benefits of having your own separate fund, a “foundation within the Foundation,” that is simple and convenient, without the customary burdens and expenses of a private foundation or trust arrangement. The Foundation provides everything from grantmaking consultation, award letters, record-keeping, investing, and annual reporting through an independent audit.
The Foundation’s program staff is familiar with local nonprofit organizations and with the critical issues facing our community. Foundation staff helps donors research the organizations and issues they care most about. In this way, donors can be assured that their donations will have an impact. Grants are managed according to established best practices.
One of the attractive features of using the services of the community foundation is provision in our bylaws and in our fund agreements which gives the Foundation’s trustees the authority to change a fund’s purpose without going through a protracted and expensive process of seeking court permission to do so.
The long passage of time can sometimes cause a charitable purpose to become outdated. To avoid the risk of obsolescence, a “variance power” provision is added to all agreements establishing funds with a specific or designated purpose or restricted to a particular field of interest. It states that the fund is subject to the Foundation’s Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and policies “including the variance power which allows the Board of Trustee of the Foundation to modify any restrictions or condition on the distribution of assets for any specified charitable purpose or to specified organizations, if, in their sole judgment, such restriction becomes, in effect, unnecessary, incapable of fulfillment, or inconsistent with the charitable needs of the area served by the Foundation.”
Donors appreciate this feature which assures them that should the purpose, organization, or need specified as the beneficiary of their fund ever ceases to exist or becomes obsolete, their funds will be used for a new purpose as close as possible to the one named in their original fund agreement.