At the Community Foundation your giving options include several types of charitable funds. As a donor, you can select the type of fund that best matches your charitable intent, then either establish a new, personalized fund of that type to be housed within the Foundation’s overall endowment (gift minimums are required to establish new funds), or contribute to an already-existing fund that aligns with your intent and charitable goals, as well as with your personal financial situation. (There are no gift minimums for contributions to already-established funds, including the Community Fund.)
Types of Funds:
- Donor Advised: Donor-directed, supports charities of donor’s choice
- Field of Interest: Supports specific interests or causes
- Designated: Supports designated charities, regions, other specific causes
- Agency: Supports a single, designated nonprofit
- Scholarship: Grants to educational institutions for students
- Community Fund: Our general, unrestricted fund used for competitive grantmaking
Donor Advised Funds
Donor Advised funds allow individuals, families, businesses or other entities to establish a fund where they may periodically direct that grants be issued to the nonprofits of their choice. (Please note that such directives are legally considered to be ‘recommendations’ of the donors; by law, the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors is required to approve all grants issued by the Foundation.)
- You may make one or more sizable contributions to your Donor Advised fund, receiving a tax deduction for the year in which you made the gift, and then defer making grants to nonprofit organizations to a later time — even to a different year, if you wish.
- Donor Advised funds are convenient: You don’t have to worry about chasing down tax letters for each grant made from your fund. You receive your tax deduction when you make your contribution to the fund itself; the Foundation will automatically send you any documentation required for tax purposes.
Please note: The IRS does not permit grants from Donor Advised funds to satisfy personal pledges of the donor(s) or any other party.
Field of Interest Funds
Field of Interest funds allow a donor or group of donors to establish or contribute to a fund that addresses issues of specific interest to them. Examples at the Community Foundation are The Women’s Fund, The Community Foundation Library Fund, and The Barbara H. Chaffee MD MPH Educational Fund.
A Field of Interest fund can be established by a single donor or family which fully funds it on its own, sets the grantmaking parameters in place (i.e., chooses the areas of interest the fund should address in its grantmaking), and then either establishes an advisory committee or allows the Foundation’s Special Grants Committee to make grant decisions.
Designated funds are established by donors to achieve a designated purpose among a designated population. For example, such funds might be set up to make periodic grants to a list of charities pre-determined by you, as the original donor. They could also be established to issue grants to nonprofits in a specific geographic area — a county or a municipality.
Designated funds may be set up by others besides individuals or families. They can be an excellent option for a private foundation that is considering dissolution but wants to ensure that the foundation’s charitable legacy continues even without their future involvement.
Designated funds are also a good option for businesses that have been engaged in a community for a long time but that are now ceasing operations or moving their base of operations to another region. Such businesses often like to establish perpetual charitable funds with a “farewell” or ultimate gift to benefit the community that was so good to them for so many years.
Agency funds are a type of Designated fund, but instead of making grants to a pre-determined list of multiple nonprofit organizations, their purpose is to support one particular nonprofit.
Scholarship funds are established as a way to support students by assisting them with the cost of their education. Often, donors see such funds as a meaningful way to honor or memorialize friends, teachers, co-workers or family members — and they will name the Scholarship fund after the person being honored or remembered. Other scenarios may be possible, and we invite you to contact us to see if what you have in mind is a good fit for a Community Foundation scholarship fund. Scholarship Fund Policy.
The Community Fund
The Community Fund is the Community Foundation’s unrestricted general fund. It supports the Foundation’s mission to respond to pressing needs in our communities. The Community Fund consists of generous and thoughtful gifts of all sizes, from one dollar to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Grants from The Community Fund are awarded in a twice-yearly competitive grants process in which nonprofits from our five-county region submit proposals for projects per grant criteria established annually by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. All proposals are reviewed by panels of volunteer reviewers drawn from the community; those proposals that are not eliminated at the panel level are reviewed by the Grants Committee of the Board. Lastly, the full Board of Directors reviews the proposals sent forward by the Grants Committee and makes the final decisions regarding grant funding.
A gift to the Community Fund can be as simple as putting a check in the mail to the Foundation. Non-cash gifts, however, may be more complicated and the Foundation recommends that you or your professional advisor contact us at (607) 772-6773 prior to initiating the gift. See our Gift Acceptance Guidelines.