What is a community foundation
and what does it do?
A community foundation is a tax-free, non-profit, PUBLIC foundation
[501(c)(3)]. The advantage offered by a community foundation is its
ability to pool donated funds for maximum investment leverage and
minimal administrative costs. A community foundation is set up to do
any of the following things:
unrestricted donations of any size, the Foundation allows a donor to
support the community in perpetuity by adding their gift to the
Unrestricted Grants Fund or the General Endowment Fund and empowering
our Board of Directors to study local needs and make grants and gifts
from the earnings.
- Through the use of Donor-Advised Funds, the
Foundation can allow the donor to suggest that disbursements from their
fund to go to a specific non-profit group or groups or to a general
field of interest (Youth, Education, Conservation, etc.).
Foundation provides gift-giving options for creating a permanent
endowment that will keep on generating income for the community into
- The Foundation saves significant legal and
accounting expenses over the option of creating private trusts or
foundations, yet it can often accomplish the same goals for the donor
from a philanthropic as well as a tax and estate-planning standpoint.
- The donor’s gift is invested professionally and the donor
is relieved of having to make ongoing investment decisions.
a Board of Directors chosen for their representation of different areas
of the county as well as their knowledge and commitment to the area, a
donor can be assured that community needs will be identified and
If I give
money to the Shenandoah Community Foundation, do I have any say in how
it is spent?
It depends on the nature of your gift. An undesignated gift of any size
will be pooled with other gifts in the General Endowment Fund to create
the leverage of an ever-growing endowment fund. The Foundation’s Board
will make grants from the earnings of this endowment based on
applications from local non-profits as well as on identified local
needs. Other options are explained next.
With a simple note of explanation accompanying your donation, it may be
applied to any of our existing funds.
you establish a named fund, there is a great deal of flexibility in how
your gift may be used. Please call us to discuss your particular
preferences. See other questions in this FAQ.
What if I
want all my charitable giving to be directed to one charity or field of
You may contribute any amount to any existing fund at any time. There
may already be a fund that serves a charity or area of need that you
want to support. By creating your own Fund, you may either designate a
specific charitable recipient (church or non-profit group) or you may
prefer to make it a Field-of-interest Fund for general types of needs
such as Youth, Education, Conservation, Arts, Emergency Services, etc.
With Field-of-Interest funds, the Board would make grants from your
fund to meet community needs within your specified field of interest. A
Scholarship Fund would be for the benefit of individuals to be used to
further their education, and you may specify certain criteria for
qualified recipients. With a Donor-Advised Fund, you may, from time to
time, advise the Foundation Board to make distributions from your fund
to the non-profits of your choice, including regional and national
interests you may have.
is required to establish a fund?
While $5,000 is the minimum balance for a permanent endowment fund, a
fund may be established with a minimum gift of $500 and the
understanding that this will be increased to at least $5,000 within
five years. Contributions to an already-established fund may be made by
anyone, so like-minded people can work together to reach this goal. A
minimal fee applied to your fund’s balance per quarter is used to
provide administrative and investment services.
donation tax deductible?
Gifts of cash and securities are 100% deductible. Contributions to the
Foundation made through such vehicles as charitable trusts are subject
to IRS regulations.
"community" does the Foundation cover?
The Shenandoah Community Foundation serves primarily Shenandoah County,
but donors who have set up Designated or Donor-Advised funds may
recommend that grants from their fund be made to qualified regional or
national charitable interests.
Who can receive a grant from the
Shenandoah Community Foundation?
Any qualified non-profit organization that serves the citizens of
Shenandoah County and surrounding areas may be invited to apply for a
grant. The Foundation is slowly building its unrestricted endowment
funds, from which it may make grants to area charities whose work
improves the community. Click here
for more information about applying for a grant.
many options for giving?
Yes! Besides the ones already discussed, the Foundation can work with a
wide range of estate-planning tools that include a gift through a will,
a charitable remainder trust, a wealth replacement trust, a charitable
lead trust, and various other combinations of tax-saving and
income-producing options. The establishment of a fund in memory
of—or in honor of—someone loved or admired is a
way to honor that person in perpetuity.
Shenandoah Community Foundation just for individuals and families?
NO! There are compelling reasons why both BUSINESSES and NON-PROFIT
ORGANIZATIONS should consider establishing a fund in their
organization’s name. In both cases their name would be
through the Foundation literature, website, and annual report,
increasing their visibility and reputation for good works.
Business Example: The “Acme Widget Company Fund”
established by the company and used for all of their charitable giving
or for a designated purpose. The company receives a tax deduction, and
the fund remains and grows as a testament to the company’s
corporate responsibility to the community. It can be a general
philanthropic fund, a scholarship fund, or a special field of interest
fund. It promotes their business while supporting the community.
Organization Example: This is called an Agency Fund and it is an
affordable way for a small non-profit organization to establish an
endowment that will grow and give back to the organization long into
the future. Once the fund is established in the organization’s name, it
will appear on Foundation literature that goes out to the public, to
estate planning attorneys, and to CPAs, increasing the group’s name
recognition. Click here
for more information on Agency Funds.