Structured philanthropy: A process relieves the pressure

Structured philanthropy: A process relieves the pressure

Helping families create a meaningful structure for their philanthropy has long been a hallmark service of The Community Foundation. That structure and the resulting discipline are increasingly important as both wealth and charitable giving more frequently span multiple generations. Indeed, spontaneous and unstructured conversations around wealth and philanthropy can be a source of family discord.

By being part of the discussion–whether formally or informally, at the table or behind the scenes–the team at The Community Foundation can help families resolve issues and smooth out the edges around common intra-family challenges, including communication, decision-making, and charitable giving.

Here are a few of the ways the team at The Community Foundation can help:

–Serving as a coach to foster thoughtful, intentional, and inclusive family conversations, even if The Community Foundation team member is serving simply in an “ice-breaker” role.

–Offering guidance from the position of a facilitator to assure that all voices are heard, particularly as views across generations can differ.

–Helping a family structure a series of discussions that employ a phased-in or “dimmer-switch” approach, beginning with values-centered discussions to identify common ground and progressing to systematic funding and allocation conversations and decisions.


The Community Foundation can work with a family under a variety of circumstances. For example:

–Some families enjoy organizing their charitable giving through both a private foundation and a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation. The team at The Community Foundation can serve as a sounding board for grant making from both vehicles and also work with a family’s tax advisors to help optimize the role and use of each vehicle.

–Many families have found that a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation meets all of their charitable giving needs, and they appreciate The Community Foundation taking on the administrative burden associated with tax filings and administration. In some cases, a family decides to close their private foundation altogether and transfer the assets to a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation.

–Some families leverage The Community Foundation for the full suite of its charitable giving services, often using a donor-advised fund in much the same way they’d use a private family foundation, only with increased privacy and no need to create a separate legal entity, thanks to The Community Foundation’s umbrella 501(c)(3) status.


By consulting with the team at The Community Foundation, and leaning into the structure that’s right for them, families can help their favorite community causes—and keep the peace across generations.


This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

By the numbers: What’s around the corner in 2024

By the numbers: What’s around the corner in 2024

As 2023 makes way for 2024, you’re no doubt inundated with information about the various IRS thresholds that are subject to adjustment. But have you thought about how each of these thresholds might be connected with your clients’ charitable giving? Here are a few pointers to keep handy as you inform your clients about changes for 2024 and also help them tee up their charitable giving plans for the coming year.


Social Security COLA increases

The Social Security Administration announced a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase of 3.2% that will take effect in January. This increase is less than half of 2023’s COLA increase (which was the highest since 1981) and reflects inflation’s decline in recent months.

Connection to charitable giving: Remember that retirees are a unique group when it comes to tools and techniques related to charitable giving. Remember also that 72% of Baby Boomers (and 88% of the Silent Generation!) give to charity every year, so if your clients include retirees, you’re almost certainly dealing with philanthropic individuals. When you talk about the Social Security increase, it’s a logical time to also bring up charitable giving plans for 2024.


Standard deduction increases

The standard deduction will increase in 2024 by approximately 5.5 percent to $14,600 for single tax filers and $29,200 for married couples filing jointly.

Connection to charitable giving: The standard deduction is an important factor in charitable giving. Your clients whose gifts to charity, plus other deductions, total more than the standard deduction are eligible to itemize deductions. You know this, of course, but it is worth talking with your clients about their 2024 charitable giving plans (and their last-minute plans for 2023!) to evaluate whether a “bunching” strategy, working with The Community Foundation, could be helpful to maximize a client’s intended support of favorite charities over the next few years.


Tax brackets

Though tax rates in each tax bracket, ranging from 10% to 37%, aren’t changing, the income levels that define each bracket are increasing. Generally speaking, your clients can earn up to about 5% more in 2024 and remain in their 2023 tax bracket.

Connection to charitable giving: Reviewing tax brackets with your clients is a good time to bring up pending legislation known as the Charitable Act, which would create a “universal deduction” even for taxpayers who do not itemize. A similar, pandemic-era law that has since expired helped boost giving following the drop in giving that occurred after the standard deduction increased in 2018.


Qualified Charitable Distributions

Each taxpayer aged 70½ and older may direct up to $105,000 in distributions from an IRA to a qualified charity in 2024, up from $100,000 in 2023. Note that your client can make a once-in-a-lifetime QCD to a charitable remainder trust or charitable gift annuity in the amount of $53,000 in 2024 (adjusted for inflation from $50,000 in 2023).

Connection to charitable giving: With the ability to give more in 2024 than 2023, your clients can further escape income tax via QCDs and satisfy a greater portion of  their Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). Field-of-interest and designated funds at The Community Foundation are very effective recipients of QCDs.


This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Local Nonprofits Receive 2023 Funding from The Community Foundation

Local Nonprofits Receive Funding from The Community Foundation

Harrisonburg, VA – Giving season is upon us and The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County is celebrating. The Community Foundation reports a total of $159,518 will be granted to twelve organizations in their Fall 2023 grants cycle. Programs and projects like ‘Meals on Wheels’ by Valley Program for Aging Services and ‘Operation Free Pet Healthcare’ by Anicira are among the funded grantees. Over 60 organizations submitted applications. “Our grant funding process is difficult, especially because we receive so many wonderful applications each year. All are deserving of funding. We encourage nonprofits to apply for our grants next year as our grant awards will increase substantially.” – Ann Siciliano, Director of Program Services, TCFHR. Fall 2023 grant awards will be distributed to Harrisonburg-Rockingham nonprofit agencies by year end.

2023 TCFHR Competitive Grant Awards:

Fund Grantee Purpose/Project
Community Endowment Valley Program for Aging Services Meals on Wheels
Valley Arts & Culture Fund Oasis Fine Art & Craft Beyond Restaurant Mural
Valley Arts & Culture Fund Rockingham Ballet Theatre Costume Storage Improvement
Janet Sohn Endowed Fund The Salvation Army The Salvation Army Emergency Shelter
Mary Spitzer Etter Endowed Fund Arts Council of the Valley Development of New Arts Council of the Valley Website
Alvin J. Baird, Jr. Program Endowed Fund Blue Ridge Free Clinic, Inc. A Free Clinic Bridge to Health
Alvin J. Baird, Jr. Program Endowed Fund Cross Keys Equine Therapy Parent/Grandparent Caregiver Trauma Group
Earlynn J. Miller Fund for the Arts Arts Council of the Valley ACT ONE
Earlynn J. Miller Fund for the Arts OASIS Fine Art & Craft `Wild and Wonderful – Animals “Captured” in Paint!
Earlynn J. Miller Fund for the Arts Virginia Quilt Museum Creating a multi-purpose space for hands-on learning and programs
Earlynn J. Miller Fund for the Arts Harrisonburg Dance Cooperative Sprung Subfloor
Hildred Neff Memorial Fund Wildlife Center of Virginia Treatment of Sick, Injured, and Orphaned Wildlife from Harrisonburg and Rockingham County
Hildred Neff Memorial Fund Cat’s Cradle Pet Retention for Low-Income and Other Vulnerable Populations
Hildred Neff Memorial Fund Anicira Operation Free Pet Healthcare

Grant distributions come from funds held at TCFHR and are determined by Grants committees. Nonprofit organizations awarded all participated in a competitive application process. Per TCFHR policy, grants are made without regard to factors of gender, race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. For more information, visit TCFHR’s website,

Contact: Ann Siciliano, 540-432-3863 or [email protected]


About The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County (TCFHR) 

TCFHR makes charitable giving easy, acting in the best interest of our donors and partners to facilitate bold philanthropic initiatives for a stronger, healthier community.


Your donor-advised fund: Think “hub,” not “autopilot”

Your donor-advised fund: Think “hub,” not “autopilot”

Perhaps you established a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation years ago, or you set up a donor-advised fund more recently. Or maybe you are considering establishing a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation this year to help you keep your giving more organized and involve your children and grandchildren in your philanthropic priorities.

Whatever the case may be in your situation, it’s a great idea to consider a few best practices for ensuring that your donor-advised fund is making the biggest difference possible for the causes you care about. Life gets busy, the months fly by, and it’s tempting to put your donor-advised fund on autopilot. But that would be a missed opportunity.

By now, you likely know that a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation offers the convenience of a one-stop-shop: You make tax-deductible contributions of cash (or, ideally, appreciated stock) to the fund, and then recommend grants to your favorite charities. Make sure you’re leveraging your donor-advised fund to execute the full range of your charitable giving each year. You’ll find it so much easier to keep track over time of where you’re giving, and how much.

As the hub of your charitable giving, The Community Foundation certainly makes it easy for you to use your donor-advised fund for your annual giving to charities. But that’s not all. As you work closely with The Community Foundation, you’re likely to discover even more ways our team can support your philanthropic activities:

  • We can help you establish a designated or field-of-interest fund to complement your donor-advised fund. A designated fund allows you to support a specific charity over the long term, while a field-of-interest fund focuses your support on a particular area of community need by leveraging The Community Foundation’s expertise. If you are over the age of 70½ and you own one or more IRAs, your designated fund or field-of-interest fund can receive Qualified Charitable Distributions up to $100,000 per year per spouse, bypassing your taxable income.
  • We can work with you and your attorney to help you establish a bequest in your estate plan to support your favorite causes beyond your lifetime. Many fund holders at The Community Foundation name their donor-advised funds, field-of-interest funds, designated funds, or even The Community Foundation itself, as beneficiaries in their wills and trusts, and especially as beneficiaries of IRAs and other qualified plans because doing so delivers significant tax benefits.
  • We can help you and your family learn more about your favorite nonprofit organizations and the issues they are addressing so that you can become more informed and effective philanthropists in our community. The Community Foundation team’s unparalleled, deep knowledge of local issues and organizations is a real advantage for you and your family. When you better understand the needs of the community and how your favorite nonprofits are addressing those needs, you’ll be better equipped to structure your giving so that it makes a difference in measurable ways. You’ll enjoy your charitable giving a lot more, too.

We hope you’ll consider your donor-advised fund–and your connection with The Community Foundation–as the hub of your philanthropy. The team at The Community Foundation is here to help you make the most of your donor-advised fund and related strategies so that you’re not only putting your money to work to improve the quality of life in our community, but you’re also achieving financial and philanthropic goals for your overall charitable giving.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Crisis giving: Avoiding pitfalls

Crisis giving: Avoiding pitfalls

Whether you’re motivated to respond to needs created by a conflict, accident, or natural disaster, it’s human nature to want to help—especially through financial support. All too often, a tragic event occurs and is quickly publicized through news accounts or social media. Then, the dollars start rolling into a crowdfunding site like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, or Fundly.


And therein lies a problem. Or a potential one, at least.

Well-intended zeal and urgency to give may not be truly aligned with the needs. Unfortunately, not all “dollar destinations” are legitimate, either in their authenticity or their declarations that a specified gift percentage will be delivered as intended. Among fraudsters’ tools are TV ads that can pop up overnight; illicit websites or URLs bearing seemingly familiar names (known as phishing); or digital money transfer recipient addresses or account names that are difficult if not impossible to verify. In some cases, donors are mistaken or confused about the deductibility of their contributions. Even the IRS is issuing warnings about crisis giving and potential fraud.

Count on The Community Foundation as your trusted source to authenticate grantee organizations. Our team not only knows the charitable landscape, but also we can fully vet recipient organizations for qualification and tax deductibility. The Community Foundation’s role is especially important and relevant in light of a recent study that revealed a growing decline in trust in nonprofits–despite nonprofit organizations still being among the most trusted organizations (along with small businesses).

The Community Foundation is here to help you navigate all of the considerations that factor into making a tax-deductible gift to a legitimate organization that can truly help offer the relief you intend. Indeed, mobile devices have made it easy to act on our honest instincts. However, in an increasingly impatient, noisy, and short-attention-span world that can carry a “get ‘er done” urgency, haste often makes waste.

Please give us a call to talk through your options for crisis giving and how to make sure your dollars get to the people and places that need it most. 540-432-3863


This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Gifts of “complex” assets deliver multiple benefits

Gifts of “complex” assets deliver multiple benefits

When you think about supporting your favorite charities or making contributions to your donor-advised or other type of fund at The Community Foundation, cash may be the first thing that comes to mind. It seems so easy to just write a check or donate online. (You probably don’t immediately think of artwork or other types of assets!)

Most of the time, gifts of highly-appreciated marketable securities are the most logical non-cash gift. Gifts of publicly-traded stock, for example, are easy to transfer to your donor-advised or other type of fund at The Community Foundation. The Community Foundation team can provide you or your advisor with transfer instructions to make the process simple. As is the case with a cash gift, The Community Foundation will provide a receipt for tax purposes, and your gift of stock will be valued at the shares’ fair market value on the date of transfer. When The Community Foundation sells the shares, the proceeds flow into your fund without any reduction for capital gains taxes. This is because The Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and therefore does not pay income tax. That would not have been the case, however, if you had sold the stock first and then transferred the proceeds to your fund at The Community Foundation; you’d owe capital gains tax on the sale. Especially in cases where you’ve held the stock a long time and it’s gone up significantly in value since you bought it, the capital gains hit can be significant.

Cash and publicly-traded stock are not your only options for adding to your fund at The Community Foundation. You can also give assets such as real estate, closely-held business interests, and even artwork or other collectibles. When you give assets like this to a fund at The Community Foundation or other public charity, the tax treatment of these “alternative” assets is the same as gifts of marketable securities in that no capital gains tax will be levied when the charity sells the assets, and, assuming the assets are “long term” capital gains property under IRS rules, you’ll be eligible for a charitable deduction at the fair market value of the assets on the date of transfer. Gifts of assets other than cash or marketable securities are sometimes called gifts of “complex assets,” but that does not mean the process needs to be intimidating. The team at The Community Foundation can work with you and your advisors every step of the way.

You can also use “complex” giving techniques to achieve your estate planning and tax goals. For example, if you are over 70 ½, The Community Foundation can work with you and your advisors to execute a Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA to a designated or field-of-interest fund. Or, we can work with you and your advisors to establish a charitable remainder trust if you’d like to retain an income stream and also get the benefit of an up-front charitable deduction.

As the end of the year approaches, it’s a good time to evaluate your portfolio with your advisors to determine whether a gift of complex assets might help you support a critical need in the community while providing key tax benefits for you and your family.

If you have questions about an asset you’re interested in contributing, please reach out to us. The Community Foundation is happy to help you establish a charitable giving plan and take the complexity out of giving complex assets.


This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Get ahead of the year-end rush

Get ahead of the year-end rush

Holidays and tax planning (although very different in the ways they are celebrated!) are both year-end traditions. No doubt (?) you’ve got the holidays covered, and perhaps your advisors are already helping you make sure your tax planning is in place. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with several important year-end charitable giving techniques and deadlines so you can be prepared for conversations with your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor, as well as the team at The Community Foundation. We stand ready to assist!

Standard deduction reminders. Remember that the 2023 standard deduction for single taxpayers ($13,850) and married filing jointly ($27,700) is up nearly 7% over 2022. While this increase allows for more relief from income tax for most filers, it also sets a higher bar to exceed for those who itemize deductions. Keep your household’s standard deduction amount in mind when you tally your deductible expenditures, including your gifts to charity. Reach out to The Community Foundation for help.

Itemization and bunching. If your total deductions are at or under the standard deduction amount for 2023, but you and your advisors determine that your particularly high income this year means you could benefit from increased deductions, a “bunching” strategy may be a good fit for you. “Bunching” means you are “front-loading” charitable donations into the current year, knowing that you plan to make these donations in future years. By structuring a large year-end gift to your donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation, you could surpass the standard deduction threshold to further reduce your taxes in 2023. Then, your favorite organizations can receive support from your donor-advised fund not only this year, but also in subsequent years. This allows you to provide predictable, steady support for the causes you love. Our team can help you build a strategy!

Stock, not cash! As you prepare for year-end giving, don’t automatically reach for the checkbook! Gifts of long-term appreciated stock to your donor-advised or other type of fund at The Community Foundation is always one of the most tax-savvy ways to support your favorite charitable causes because capital gains tax can be avoided. Similarly, if you are a business owner, you can work with your advisors and The Community Foundation team to explore how you might give shares in the business to your fund at The Community Foundation as a part of your overall estate plan. Not only will transfers be eligible for a charitable deduction during the year of transfer (and at fair market value if you held the shares for more than one year), but also these gifts could potentially reduce income tax burdens triggered upon a future sale of the business.

QCDs from IRAs. As always, keep in mind that the Qualified Charitable Distribution (“QCD”) is a very smart way to support charitable causes. If you are over the age of 70 ½, you can direct up to $100,000 from your IRA to certain charities, including a field-of-interest, designated, unrestricted, or scholarship fund at The Community Foundation. If you’re subject to the rules for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), QCDs count toward those RMDs. That means you avoid income tax on the funds distributed to charity. Our team can work with you and your advisors to go over the rules for QCDs and evaluate whether the QCD is a good fit for you.

Fingers crossed on deduction legislation. Keep an eye on the Charitable Act, which, if passed, would permit a deduction for charitable gifts that exceed the standard deduction. The Charitable Act proposes to restore the pandemic-era “universal charitable deduction” and raise the cap from $300 for individuals ($600 for joint filers) to approximately $4,600 for individuals ($9,200 for joint filers). This could be a game-changing incentive for your favorite charities–and for you!

Don’t miss year-end deadlines. Please reach out to The Community Foundation team to find out when certain transactions must occur to be legally completed during this tax year, including checks to your fund at The Community Foundation which must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than December 30. Gifts of marketable securities also need to be fully transferred by December 30, so please work with your advisors to contact us in plenty of time for our team to process and receive the transfer.




This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Life insurance: A key charitable planning tool for certain clients

Life insurance: A key charitable planning tool for certain clients

As an advisor, you often talk with your clients about life insurance–how much is enough and which policies are best suited for a client’s particular situation. As you counsel your clients about risk management and the role of life insurance in their estate plans, don’t forget that life insurance can be an effective charitable giving tool in some situations.

Many advisors overlook the ease of naming a charity as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. Certainly, qualified plans and IRAs are a more tax-effective vehicle to leave to a charity via a beneficiary designation, but some clients might want to do even more than that. For instance, “second-to-die” life insurance policies are a common hedge or shield against anticipated estate taxes. These policies may become more popular as the estate tax exemption drops back down at the end of 2025.

Some clients may not be fully aware of how important beneficiary designations really are. Of course, many policyholders will first want to provide for family members in either specified dollar amounts or percentages. What some clients may not realize is that they can also designate insurance proceeds to support the causes they care about, whether by naming a charity directly or naming a fund at The Community Foundation to carry out their charitable wishes.

Increasing the coverage under an existing policy may present an additional charitable giving opportunity for some clients. Because policy premiums generally do not rise proportionately to benefit amounts, expanding the benefits can be cost efficient. For example, if a client would like each of four family-member beneficiaries to receive $250,000 from a million-dollar life insurance policy, adding $250,000 of benefit will typically not increase the premium by 25%. In fact, the benefit-to-premium ratio may improve. In a case like this, the client can name the four family-member beneficiaries and the charity to each receive ⅕ of the policy benefits. Depending on the client’s overall financial and estate planning picture, a technique like this might truly deliver bang for the buck.

And although deploying life insurance as a charitable planning technique may not be a fit for every client, it’s certainly worth considering in edge cases. Indeed, the global market for term insurance is growing—from $850 billion in 2021 to an expected $1.3 trillion by 2028. Many people buy term insurance with its relatively low fixed-rate premiums for 20 – 30 years as a hedge for potentially lost income during high-expense times in life, such as children’s college years, or to pay off a mortgage. But if those years pass uneventfully (fingers crossed!), and amid an improved personal financial position, it’s an opportune time to reassess and even continue the policy.

Past term insurance policy premiums can then be viewed as sunk or unrecoverable costs, and future premiums can be seen as a relatively moderate “investment” relative to the benefit. Of course, all of your clients want to outlive their policies. But as long as a policy is in effect, the policy offers many potential opportunities, including for charitable giving. Reach out to The Community Foundation to explore this further. We’d love to talk!


This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Tips for clients’ year-end giving

Tips for clients’ year-end giving

Year-end giving makes up a significant portion of total revenue for most charitable organizations. Research even shows that a whopping 25% of online giving occurs in December! What this means is that there’s a pretty good chance your clients are already considering end-of-year gifts to support causes they care about, are being asked by at least one nonprofit for an end-of-year gift, or both. That’s why it’s important for you to talk with clients well in advance of the year-end giving rush.

Here are six tips to help jumpstart your client conversations over the next few weeks. Please give us a call if you’d like to dive deeper! We are here for you.

Check in on goals. By discussing your clients’ overall charitable goals, you can ascertain which causes your clients are passionate about and why they care, how much they’d like to contribute in the short term and over time, the impact they’d like to see, and whether they intend to provide for their favorite charities in their estate plan. Against this backdrop, year-end giving strategies become easier to develop.

Explore a wide variety of fund types. Donor-advised funds are very popular vehicles, and community foundations are ideal providers of donor-advised funds for clients who want to keep their philanthropy local and benefit from The Community Foundation’s focus, expertise, and mission-driven 501(c)(3) status. But donor-advised funds are not the only types of funds that The Community Foundation offers. Your clients can also establish field-of-interest funds, designated funds, unrestricted funds, or scholarship funds. Our team will help you evaluate what type of fund (or funds) is best suited for a particular client. For example, a client considering a Qualified Charitable Distribution from an IRA is a great candidate to establish a field-of-interest or designated fund.

Understand The Community Foundation’s donor-advised fund advantages. As you work with clients for whom a donor-advised fund is appropriate, be sure you understand why The Community Foundation is such a great fit for so many philanthropic individuals and families. Indeed, The Community Foundation is the truly local option for donor-advised funds. Large, national providers associated with financial institutions also offer donor-advised funds, but those vehicles are typically not a fit for clients who care about our community and want to support the region’s nonprofits in a meaningful way.

Know how a donor-advised fund works. It’s easy for a client to establish a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation. After completing simple paperwork, your client will make a tax-deductible gift (of cash or, ideally, stock or other highly-appreciated asset) to The Community Foundation to fund the donor-advised fund. The funds can then be granted out to eligible charities at the client’s recommendation over time. Many clients find that a donor-advised fund operates almost identically to a private foundation, but without the sometimes hefty administrative overhead costs and burdensome restrictions. A donor-advised fund can be named after the client (e.g., Smith Family Fund) or named to reflect the purpose of the client’s giving (e.g., Fund for the Future of Anytown), or even structured to enable the client to give anonymously.

Supercharge both tax benefits and giving. Giving through a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation may allow a client to tap a helpful technique called “bunching,” which maximizes the client’s itemized deductions for the tax year, while still ensuring that the client can give strategically over the next few years to achieve charitable goals and support favorite organizations when they need it the most.

Don’t default to cash. Many clients naturally think of cash as the source for their year-end giving. That’s a missed opportunity! Most of the time, highly-appreciated marketable securities (or other highly-appreciated, long-term assets) are a better gift to a client’s fund at The Community Foundation or other public charity because the client is eligible for a tax deduction at the assets’ fair market value, and the proceeds from the sale of the assets will flow into the client’s fund at The Community Foundation free from capital gains tax. That means more funds are available to support the client’s favorite causes.

Philanthropy is an important topic of conversation with your clients, not just at the end of the year, but always. Our team is here to help you ensure that your clients can meet their financial and charitable goals through year-end giving and beyond.


This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Spotting opportunity: Moving from a commercial fund to The Community Foundation

Spotting opportunity: Moving from a commercial fund to The Community Foundation

Although a donor-advised fund, which is becoming a more and more popular charitable planning tool, can be established through a national financial institution, The Community Foundation offers its donor-advised fund holders much broader services, more personal attention, and deeper connections to the nonprofits whose work is essential to effecting positive community change. Unfortunately, many attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors are simply not aware that a donor-advised fund established at The Community Foundation is in most cases a far better fit for their clients than a donor-advised fund set up at a “commercial gift fund.”

As you meet with your clients about year-end planning, be sure to ask whether they’ve established a donor-advised fund and if so, where it’s housed. If a client’s donor-advised fund is not at a community foundation, but instead was established through a national provider, please give us a call. We would be happy to talk with you and your client about the ease and benefits of moving the donor-advised fund to The Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation offers donor-advised fund holders the same tax and administrative benefits as a commercial gift fund, including:

  • Online access to the donor-advised fund to view balances, contributions, and grants
  • Simple process for requesting grants to favorite charities
  • Streamlined tax reporting, often represented by just one letter to provide to an accountant at tax time, even when the donor-advised fund is used to support dozens of individual charities throughout the year
  • All back-office administration, tax receipts, recordkeeping, and other requirements for the donor-advised fund’s 501(c)(3) status
  • Favorable tax-deductibility of contributions to the fund

Unlike standard commercial gift funds, though, The Community Foundation offers high-level, customized services to its donor-advised fund holders, including:

  • Concierge-level service by knowledgeable staff to structure estate gifts to charities and accept gifts of appreciated stock or complex assets such as real estate or closely-held stock
  • In-house experts who have a finger on the pulse of community needs, the strengths of specific nonprofits, and how to structure grant making for the highest possible community benefit
  • Opportunities to collaborate with other donors who care about similar issues and forums to tap into local and national subject matter experts
  • Opportunities to go deep into specific issue areas, both through education and hands-on involvement
  • Assistance with structuring and measuring the impact of grants
  • Family philanthropy and corporate giving services to foster a well-rounded, holistic approach to philanthropy
  • Administrative fees that are reinvested into The Community Foundation, itself a nonprofit, to help support operations, grow its mission, and help even more donors support the causes they care about
  • Hands-on assistance from local experts who understand both local and distant needs, and welcome the opportunity to research and identify causes aligned with donors’ goals and priorities
  • Staff members who live in the community they serve and often personally know the leaders and staff of grantee organizations and regularly hear about their needs first-hand

Keep an eye out for clients’ donor-advised funds at commercial gift funds. You’ll be doing a tremendous service for your client, and you’ll be helping the local community. You will also be fulfilling your own professional responsibilities by exploring the opportunity for a client to move a donor-advised fund to The Community Foundation. At The Community Foundation, hard-earned assets receive the attention they deserve as your clients strive to make a difference in the causes they care about the most.



This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.