Playbook: Helping clients organize their giving through a donor-advised fund

Picture this: Your clients will arrive in 15 minutes. You’re reviewing the file. Everything is in order. The estate planning documents are up to date, you’re ready to share the latest investment results, and you are prepared to debrief the 2021 tax season and make tax planning recommendations for the remainder of this year. It sounds pretty typical up to this point, right?

As you continue to scroll through the materials, you see the names of several charitable organizations that your clients have supported every year for at least a decade. Ah ha! This is an opportunity to add even more value to your clients. Easy for a busy advisor to overlook, charitable giving habits are actually an important window into helping a client make planning decisions around their philanthropic intentions.

Here’s a simple playbook to guide you through a client conversation to begin establishing a charitable giving plan using a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation.

  • Call your clients’ attention to their charitable giving history. They might not even be aware of how much they are giving or how long they’ve been supporting their favorite charities.
  • Gather more information about why the clients support those particular causes. Family tradition? Past involvement as a beneficiary of an organization’s services? Desire to impact a particular area of need?
  • Talk with your clients about their community involvement. Do they serve on any boards of directors? Do they volunteer at local organizations?
  • Review any charitable giving provisions in the current will or trust. Are the clients leaving a bequest to favorite charities?
  • Ask your clients if they’ve ever considered organizing their giving through a donor-advised fund. If they are not familiar with donor-advised funds, perhaps offer a quick primer, and certainly offer to introduce the client to a member of The Community Foundation team.
  • Briefly mention that a donor-advised fund can be an effective alternative to a private foundation, thanks to fewer expenses to establish and maintain, maximum tax benefits (higher AGI limitations and fair market valuation for contributing hard-to-value assets), no excise taxes, and confidentiality (including the ability to grant anonymously to charities).
  • Also mention that a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation is frequently a more effective choice than a donor-advised fund offered through a brokerage firm (such as Fidelity or Schwab). That’s because, at a community foundation, the donor is part of a community of giving and has opportunities to collaborate with other donors who share similar interests. In addition, the donor is supported in strategic grant making, family philanthropy, and opportunities to gain deep knowledge about local issues and nonprofits making a difference.

Want to learn more? Call The Community Foundation at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected]!

Community Foundation Scholarship Application Window Open!

The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County (TCFHR) is excited to offer a new online system for scholarship applications. Students may access the new system to determine eligibility to apply for 2022 scholarship awards. TCFHR provides a variety of scholarship opportunities for students seeking to receive financial assistance as they prepare for college or graduate school. TCFHR also has one award specifically for high school juniors (application deadline May 9)!

Some scholarship awards are merit-based, some financial need based, others focus on a particular area of study, while some are specific to high school athletes. Some awards are for students graduating from certain high schools, one for students whose parents are employed at a specified list of golf clubs throughout the United States, and another specifically for high school coaches or athletic directors in the Shenandoah Valley who wish to nominate a track athlete. TCFHR also offers a scholarship specifically for students transferring from BRCC or LFCC to a 4-year university, and one for students doing graduate level work at EMU.

The Community Foundation offers 19 different scholarship opportunities through the new online system. We encourage students, track coaches or athletic directors to explore what might be available to them. Deadline for almost all applications is April 11.

CLICK HERE to determine eligibility to apply!

Funding Addresses Local Needs

The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County’s annual competitive Fall grant cycle came to a close on November 17 with excited Board approval. This cycle’s grants total $78,934 to 14 local nonprofit organizations. The monies distributed will go to H-R nonprofits addressing needs in:

·         Animal welfare (Still Meadows Enrichment Center & Camp, Cat’s Cradle, Anicira, Wildlife Center of VA) made by Hildred Neff Memorial Fund
·         Arts & culture (Northeast Neighborhood Association, Arts Council of the Valley, OASIS Fine Art & Craft) made by Valley Arts & Culture Fund and Mary Spitzer Etter Endowed Fund
·         Healthcare (Adagio House, Family Life Resource Center, JMU Suitcase Clinic, Kingsway Prison and Family Outreach) made by Alvin Baird Endowed Fund
·         Housing (Central Valley Habitat for Humanity) made by Janet Sohn Endowed Fund
·         Greatest benefit to Harrisonburg and Rockingham County (Plains Area Daycare Center, Village to Village) made by The Community Endowment Fund

Grant distributions come from funds held at TCFHR and determined by a grants committee. Funds established at The Community Foundation are a result of collaboration between generous, community-centered individuals and TCFHR. For more information on how to contribute to funds held at The Community Foundation or how to establish a fund yourself, call 540-432-3863 or email Ann Siciliano [email protected]. The Community Foundation has enjoyed a solid record of success and, through continued partnership and collaboration, they aspire to establish and manage more charitable funds that will serve this community today and in perpetuity.

Read more about Community Foundation 2021 competitive grant awards.

Giving Back on Giving Tuesday 2021

The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County is encouraging our area residents to connect with and give directly to nonprofit agencies listed in Giving Back, TCFHR’s giving guide for the greater community, donor advisors, private foundations, civic groups, and giving circles. The community can learn more about nonprofit needs in TCFHR’s Giving Back, published and distributed through Daily News-Record this Saturday, November 20, and now online at Community members may also go to TCFHR located at 317 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, for a print copy.

TCFHR hopes the community will refer to Giving Back when making their charitable giving on Giving Tuesday, November 30, and throughout the next year in 2022. “TCFHR publishes this giving guide every year to create awareness for nonprofit organizations’ funding requests in the year-end for Giving Tuesday and beyond. The fifth edition of Giving Back presents 62 causes that will need our community’s attention in the coming year.” – Amanda Bomfim, Program Officer, TCFHR.

Gifts of $10, $50, $100, or more will benefit these nonprofits greatly in their service provision. Individuals may choose to send funding directly to a nonprofit agency listed in this publication. Contact information for each nonprofit can be found in Giving Back. Donations are at the discretion of individual donors, corporations, civic clubs and grants committees. Donors may contribute from their funds at TCFHR. Community members may also let TCFHR know if they would like to establish a charitable fund to benefit many of these nonprofit organizations through TCFHR.

About Giving Tuesday

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good.

National Community Foundation Week Celebrates Local Philanthropy

The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County will join in a nationwide celebration, November 12-18, 2021, to recognize the increasingly important role that community foundations play in strengthening localities.


For more than a century, philanthropic institutions have served as a trusted partner and resource whose effect can be seen in the lives of millions and in the vibrant neighborhoods that continue to thrive through their mission-driven work. Community foundations are independent, public entities that steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits and represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy.


In 2020, The Community Foundation granted over $5 million to nonprofit organizations, 61 high school and college students were awarded over $200,000 in scholarships, 61 nonprofit organization projects were promoted through the Giving Back guide, and 170 K-12 students were funded through the VDOE Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit Program. TCFHR’s initiative, Great Community Give, raised $1,772,878 for 116 nonprofit organizations on April 21, 2021. Another initiative, Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership, trained nonprofit organizations in Storytelling and Strategic Planning.


Community Foundation Week was created in 1989 by former president George H.W. Bush to recognize the work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative approach to working with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to address community problems.


Contact The Community Foundation ([email protected], or 540-432-3863), with any questions.

Alvin Baird Grant Opportunity for HR Nonprofits Serving Unmet Healthcare Needs

The Alvin V. Baird, Jr. Program Endowment Fund was established in 2005 to support the mission of The Free Clinic in Harrisonburg, Virginia. During its many years of serving this community, the clinic’s mission was to provide volunteer outpatient health services to the uninsured in a manner that promoted dignity, wholeness, and the coordination of services. With the closure of The Free Clinic in 2020, the board of The Community Foundation approved an annual competitive grant process for this endowed fund to continue to support the mission of the former Free Clinic, by distributing grants to nonprofit organizations addressing the unmet healthcare needs in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County community .

A competitive application process has been created for this permanently endowed fund. It will benefit nonprofit organizations serving the unmet healthcare needs for uninsured and low income individuals in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County community each year. CLICK HERE TO APPLY. Applications are due by 5:00PM on November 8, 2021. Current annual grant funding from this endowment exceeds $42,000. Funding will be distributed by December 2021.


Organizations must be tax-exempt public charities under IRS Section 501(c)3 or other nonprofit status. Organizations must be physically located in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County, and the project or program to be funded must serve the local area. Schools are not eligible to apply. Please call TCFHR if you have questions regarding eligibility before applying. Grants are made without regard to factors of gender, race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.

Recipients of grant funding will be required to provide reporting to TCFHR program staff on the use of grant funds for the project featured in the grant application.



ENL Offers Strategic Planning Workshops for Nonprofits


Part 1: Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST

Part 2: Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 from 9:00 AM to 12:00PM EST

Add to Calendar


Stewart Room, Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center 

712 Massanetta Springs Road
Harrisonburg, VA 22801 


Amanda Bomfim
The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County
[email protected]

Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership, a program at The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County 



She led the strategic plan process for TCF which was so valuable that we wanted other nonprofit organizations to benefit from her leadership in this area. Strategic Planning is something that we’re asked about a lot and we are delighted be bring Jennifer to lead this workshop on strategic planning.” – Revlan Hill, Executive Director of The Community Foundation

Part 1: Strategic Planning 101 – October 20th, 9a-12p

Strategic planning is an integral part of any non-profit, ensuring that resources are focused on those activities that best support the organization’s purpose. Creating a strategic plan, however, can be challenging – especially if your knowledge and experience is limited. During Part I of this workshop, we will discuss the foundational components of an effective strategic plan – mission, vision and value statements – as well as the process for creating purposeful goals and objectives. To end our time together, you will begin applying your new knowledge by creating your own personal mission statement.

Part 2: Strategic Planning 102 – November 3rd, 9a-12p

Developing a strategic plan can be time-consuming, but the benefits are immeasurable. During this session, we will use a randomly drawn, attending nonprofit to practice creating a mission, vision and value statement. We will also participate in a traditional brainstorming session as we develop both short-term and long-term strategic goals for the chosen organization. ALL organizations will walk away with a replicable process for a strategic plan that you can begin with your own organization the moment you step back into your office. 

NOTE: An organization will be randomly chosen to be the prime example for Part 2. This organization will leave Part 2 with specific takeaways. The organization will be notified before the session with enough time to prepare. Jennifer will extend one-on-one attention to the chosen organization during the session as well. 

Organizations may bring up to three participants (staff, volunteers, board members, etc.)

Requirements: Organizations may attend Part 1 on October 20th and not Part 2 on November 3rd. Organizations can NOT attend Part 2 without attending Part 1. Attendance to Part 1 is a prerequisite for Part 2.

REGISTER BY: October 19th, 2021


1 participant: Part 1 ONLY: $30 / BOTH Parts: $60

2 participants: Part 1 ONLY: $50 / BOTH Parts: $100

3 participants: Part 1 ONLY: $60 / BOTH Parts: $120

Use credit card/PayPal online or mail a check payable to
The Community Foundation, PO Box 1068, Harrisonburg, VA 22803.
Include “ENL Training” on the memo line

Giving Back Guide – Grant Opportunity for HR Nonprofits

The Community Foundation partners with the Daily News-Record to publish the Giving Back booklet detailing nonprofit projects. This booklet will feature a summary of your project and will include a project description, basic financial information from your organization’s 990, and other needs of your organization. The Giving Back publication will be included in a November edition of the DN-R with a circulation of over 15,000 readers. An organization may apply to be included in the Giving Back publication each calendar year. The deadline to be included is October 1, 2021.

Funding decisions are made by individual private donors, private foundations, and civic organizations. In November of each year, applications are considered for funding from the Community Endowment and the Valley Arts & Culture Fund. Currently grant funding from these endowments ranges from $800 to over $8,000.


Organizations must be tax-exempt public charities under IRS Section 501(c)3 or other nonprofit status. Organizations must be physically located in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County, and the project or program to be funded must serve the local area. Religious organizations are welcome to apply if the project will significantly aid the broader community. Schools are not eligible to apply. Please call TCFHR if you have questions regarding eligibility before applying. Grants are made without regard to factors of gender, race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.


Little Swiss Fund Grant Opportunity for Highland County Nonprofits

The 2021 Little Swiss Fund grant application is now available!


In 2018, The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County received a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor with instructions for the gift to benefit nonprofit organizations in Highland County, Virginia. The gift established a permanently endowed fund called The Little Swiss Fund, whose monies are annually invested and distributed to benefit Highland County nonprofit agencies with 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status. This year’s grants will provide approximately $334,821 to charitable organizations. All grants will be awarded in late November 2021.



Organizations must be tax-exempt public charities under IRS Section 501(c)3 or other nonprofit status. Organizations must be physically located in Highland County, VA, and the project or program to be funded must serve the Highland County area. Religious organizations are welcome to apply. Nonprofit organizations must have annual revenues in excess of $25,000 to be eligible. Local clubs (civic and otherwise), and recreational facilities are NOT eligible to apply.

If you have any questions about your organization’s eligibility to apply, please contact TCFHR ([email protected] or 540-432-3863) before you begin the application. Grants are made without regard to factors of gender, race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.


Applications are due November 1, 2021 at 5:00PM.   2021 APPLICATION