Local Nonprofits Receive Funding from The Community Foundation

Harrisonburg, VA – It feels like Christmas over at The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg  and Rockingham County (TCFHR)! No, it is not quite time for the holiday, but TCFHR is in the giving spirit since they are soon issuing Fall 2022 grants to nonprofit organizations. This year’s grants total $152,235 to 13 local nonprofits, more than TCFHR has given out in years past. The largest distribution ($55,000) coming from the Earlynn J. Miller Fund for the Arts. Dr. Earlynn J. Miller was honored posthumously at AFP Shenandoah’s National Philanthropy Day for her contributions at JMU as well as her generously giving approximately $5 million to establish three endowments at The Community Foundation that will support the arts forever.

The monies will go to organizations addressing needs in:
Animal welfare (Anicira, Cat’s Cradle, and Wildlife Center of VA) made by Hildred Neff Memorial Fund
Arts & Culture (Arts Council of the Valley) made by Mary Spitzer Etter Endowed Fund, (OASIS Fine Art & Craft) made by Valley Arts & Culture Fund, and (Arts Council of the Valley and Harrisonburg Dance Cooperative) made by Earlynn J. Miller Fund for the Arts
Children and Youth of Divorced Parents (Family Life Resource Center) made by Sean Warner Memorial Fund
Healthcare (Adagio House, Blue Ridge Free Clinic, and Strength in Peers) made by Alvin V. Baird, Jr. Program Housing (Central Valley Habitat for Humanity) made by Janet Sohn Endowed Fund
Greatest benefit to Harrisonburg and Rockingham County (Blue Ridge CASA and First Step) made by The Community Endowment Fund

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, contact Ann Siciliano at [email protected].


Read more about Community Foundation grant awards.

It’s a big deal: Answering clients’ questions about GivingTuesday

It’s a big deal: Answering clients’ questions about GivingTuesday

Among the many client questions you and other attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors can be prepared to answer as year-end approaches is, “What is Giving Tuesday? And why the hashtag that often precedes it in print or online?”

Giving Tuesday–or “GivingTuesday” to be more accurate–has become a philanthropic phenomenon of sorts, generating support and enthusiasm from a wide range of people and institutions. Many of your clients are likely reading about GivingTuesday in the media, especially after the Gates Foundation recently announced its $10 million gift to support the effort.

Celebrating 10 years in 2022—and vastly different from both the Black Friday and Cyber Monday that it follows—GivingTuesday is a day of generosity. Generosity of time, effort, money, concern or any other well-intended act of giving.

Facts about GivingTuesday:

  • Started in 2012.
  • More than a day, GivingTuesday is a movement and an organization.
  • Founded at New York’s 92nd Street Y and celebrated globally.
  • Falls on the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving, always.
  • Though not strictly a fundraiser, money “moved” has grown from $28 million in 2013 to $2.7 billion in the U.S. in 2021.

Clients typically get involved in GivingTuesday by supporting their favorite charitable organizations. Many nonprofits promote GivingTuesday as an important source of funds for their organizations, and they frequently encourage their donors–your clients–to give via cash, check, online or even via cryptocurrency. Your clients also can participate in GivingTuesday by recommending grants from their donor-advised funds to favorite organizations.

Far beyond simple acts of benevolence, GivingTuesday is steeped in the idea of “radical generosity,” which the organization describes as giving to create systemic change, or to “recognize that we each can drive an enormous amount of positive change by rooting our everyday actions, decisions and behavior in radical generosity—the concept that the suffering of others should be as intolerable to us as our own suffering. Radical generosity invites people in to give what they can to create systemic change.”

Beyond monetary donations, systemic change comes from participating in activities like social media advocacy (the # in #Giving Tuesday that creates ripple-effect awareness online), sharing love, spreading kindness, supporting a food pantry, shopping local or hosting a food or coat drive.

To help clients learn more or get answers to additional questions about GivingTuesday, please reach out to The Community Foundation. Our team welcomes your call!  Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected].


The perfect plate: Turkey, pumpkin pie and charitable giving

The perfect plate: Turkey, pumpkin pie and charitable giving

As you prepare to gather with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, we invite you to reach out to the team at The Community Foundation for suggestions on how to incorporate charitable giving into the festivities.

For example:

  • Take this opportunity to brush up on the rich history of charitable giving in America.
  • Consider asking each family member to conduct quick research on a community need that they feel strongly about, such as homelessness, early childhood education, preserving the environment, medical research, and so on. Even just 15 minutes of online research on how the issue is playing out locally can be eye-opening!
  • When your family is together, each person can briefly share what they found in their research. If the group feels strongly about one or two issues, you might consider pooling donations–whether $5 per person or $50.
  • Contact The Community Foundation to find out which nonprofit organizations in the community are most closely aligned with addressing the issues you’ve selected. Make your family donation to those organizations.

Thanksgiving is also a good time to start planning for year-end charitable giving to meet your philanthropic goals. For instance:

  • Making gifts of cash or appreciated stock to your donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation can help you streamline your charitable giving recordkeeping and still allow you to support your favorite charities with year-end gifts. If you’ve not yet established a fund at The Community Foundation, we’d love to help you set that up. There is still plenty of time to put it in place to meet your year-end tax planning and charitable giving needs.
  • If you are over the age of 70 ½, consider making a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from your IRA to one or more qualifying charities, which include an unrestricted or field-of-interest fund at The Community Foundation. QCDs, available up to $100,000 annually per taxpayer, are an excellent way to bypass required minimum distributions and the corresponding income tax liability.
  • Many families update their estate plans around the holidays. If you’re planning to review your wills and trusts, it’s a great time to check in on any bequests and adjust those provisions, especially if you’ve recently established a donor-advised or other type of fund at The Community Foundation and intend for part of your estate to flow into those vehicles.

As always, please contact The Community Foundation for charitable giving inspiration and insights. We are here to help! Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected].


Great Community Give 2023 Nonprofit Registration Opens Today!

Great Community Give 2023 Nonprofit Registration

Will Launch on National Philanthropy Day

Great Community Give (GCG) is back for its sixth year! The GCG Planning Team will open registration for interested nonprofits on National Philanthropy Day, November 15th.

Returning and newly participating nonprofit agencies can sign up for GCG 2023 at Registration will remain open until February 15, 2023. Eligibility requirements include having IRS 501(c)(3) tax status and located in and serving Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

Great Community Give is an initiative hosted by The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County (TCFHR), raising millions for area nonprofits since its beginning in 2018. The annual, sunrise to sunset, giving day event champions local causes by inspiring charitable giving to Harrisonburg-Rockingham nonprofit organizations. In April 2022, over 7,000 donors raised $1,727,289 for 125 organizations, bringing the initiative’s overall grand total to $5,117,703.

Nonprofits have big plans for this upcoming GCG, including Valley Associates for Independent Living. According to their Executive Director, Gayl Brunk, GCG 2023 donations will support the recently acquired, nationally ranked, Cardinals Wheelchair Basketball Team.

Amanda Bomfim, Program Officer at TCFHR is committed to making the 6th year a success. “Our team wants to be bold in our support of the nonprofits. Our GCG 2023 goals are to raise $2 million and to reach 8,000 donors. I am motivated to reach more community members in the sixth GCG especially since it will be easier to give. Donors may now contribute to their favorite organizations using the mobile payment service, Venmo.”

Great Community Give will be on the third Wednesday of April on April 19, 2023, 6:30am to 8:00pm. For questions about Great Community Give, contact TCFHR at 540-432-3863.

Give a little and feel a lot better

Give a little and feel a lot better

In the classic book The Go-Giver: A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea, authors Bob Burg and John Mann share how Joe, a young professional, uses unselfishness to ultimately find business success.

Among the philosophies:

–Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

–Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

On a personal level, we’ve all heard the adage, and to paraphrase, “It’s better to give than to receive.” Two often-cited benefits of giving are (a) that it makes you happy, and (b) it makes you healthier and live longer.

These benefits can be experienced through small gestures, like opening a door for a stranger; surprising the next-in-line at the drive through with a free cup of coffee; or checking on a neighbor before or after a storm.

Volunteering is another source of happiness and health enhancement. According to the University of Maryland Health System, volunteering can bring physical and behavioral health benefits including a broader social network, lower blood pressure (which can reduce risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke), improved mental health and stress relief.

By doing good, we feel better ourselves.

In many ways, interestingly enough, your community foundation can be a facilitator of health benefits. By helping to establish, manage and distribute your gifts of generosity to the causes you care about, The Community Foundation can simplify the giving process to your favorite organizations that power medical innovation, support equipment acquisitions and fund construction at university health centers, hospitals, and blood banks, as well as the many important services delivered by community health providers.

Quite notably, many generous and significant gifts received by health centers in 2021 referenced family foundation involvement. Among those facilities are Cedars-Sinai Health System (Los Angeles, CA); Atrium Health (Charlotte, NC); Wolfson Children’s Hospital (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Saint Barnabas Medical Center (Livingston, N.J.).

By giving through The Community Foundation, whether to an unrestricted fund, field-of-interest fund, or a donor-advised fund, and whether to health-related charitable organizations or others, a donor’s gifts to charity can go above and beyond simply meeting individual or family tax and giving goals. By serving those in need and the greater good, gifts to charity help others feel happier and healthier—donors and recipients alike.

Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected] for any questions on charitable giving.


Counseling your clients about nonprofits: The good, the bad, and the big leaps

Counseling your clients about nonprofits: The good, the bad, and the big leaps


The nonprofit sector accounts for more than 12 million jobs in the United States, and job growth in the nonprofit sector in recent years has outpaced job growth in the private sector. As an advisor, you are more likely than ever to represent clients who hold executive positions at nonprofits, serve in key roles on nonprofit boards of directors, or do business with nonprofit organizations.

Please reach out to The Community Foundation as a resource when questions about nonprofit matters arise in your client discussions. Here are three examples of the types of issues that come up in the nonprofit arena:


–The good: The application process for exempt status has improved dramatically in recent years, thanks to IRS enhancements to its Form 1023. This is important for you to know when you are advising clients who are involved with a new charity. For those familiar with the application process, the new Form 1023 was a huge win and a major IRS accomplishment.


–The bad: Watch out for exempt status issues. At the heart of a nonprofit’s favored tax treatment is the concept of “exempt purpose”–meaning, essentially, operating for the public good, not to further private interests. For charitable entities organized under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), exempt status is crucial for an organization to remain exempt from paying income tax. Exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) also allows contributions to the organization to be eligible for income tax deductions (as well as estate and gift tax deductions).


–The big leaps: The nonprofit sector, powered by private philanthropy, can be, and has been, transformational for our society. If you’ve not spent some time reading up on the major societal changes that have their roots in the nonprofit sector, you might consider doing so. As always, the team at The Community Foundation would welcome an opportunity to provide big picture background and inspiration to support the ongoing service you provide your clients who are involved in the nonprofit sector.


The team at The Community Foundation is a resource and sounding board as you serve your philanthropic clients. We understand the charitable side of the equation and are happy to serve as a secondary source as you manage the primary relationship with your clients.


Bright spots in the midst of economic challenges

Bright spots in the midst of economic challenges

Bear markets aren’t much fun for anyone. But that doesn’t mean your charitable giving commitments have to be put on hold. If you are like many donors, you are still looking for ways to support the organizations you care about that rely on your support to achieve their missions.

Remember, not every stock is down. It’s still incredibly tax-efficient to donate highly-appreciated stock to your fund at The Community Foundation. When you give appreciated stock held for more than one year (a long-term capital asset) to your donor-advised or other type of fund, instead of selling it outright, the capital gains tax is avoided. Plus, marketable securities are typically deductible at their fair market value, further helping your overall income tax situation.

Don’t forget about the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD), either. If you’ve reached the age of 70 ½, the QCD is an elegant and effective planning tool. You are still required to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your IRA even in a down market, and the QCD can help offset this tax hit by allowing you to direct up to $100,000 to a qualified public charity, including a field-of-interest fund or unrestricted fund at The Community Foundation.

This is also a good time to make sure your estate plan is in good shape, including bequests you may wish to leave to a fund at The Community Foundation so that the causes you care about can continue to be supported for generations to come.


Please reach out to the team at The Community Foundation. We are here to help! Call us at 540-432-3863 or visit


Disaster philanthropy: Your clients and the important role of individual philanthropy

Disaster philanthropy: Your clients and the important role of individual philanthropy

Sadly, your philanthropic clients have likely grown accustomed to making charitable donations to support disaster relief. Individual donations provide critical resources to help communities recover from the many disasters–weather, fire, humanitarian, disease, war–that occur each year.

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, your clients may ask you about their options to support those affected by the storm. We encourage you to reach out to the team at The Community Foundation. We can connect your donors with a variety of options for giving that are trustworthy and effective. Indeed, disaster relief funding is frequently coordinated by community foundations, which are widely viewed as one of the very best vehicles to help donors provide financial support to relief efforts. Individual giving is critically important to any disaster relief effort, and The Community Foundation can help your clients make an immediate, powerful, and positive impact on the lives of those affected by Hurricane Ian or any disaster.

Especially heartwarming is that many donors are now exploring ways to help improve a community’s readiness for disaster response, including building reserve funds for future disaster relief and bolstering emergency preparedness infrastructure for medical care, food, clothing, and shelter delivered by a network of local, on-the-ground nonprofit organizations. We are happy to work with your clients to establish field-of-interest funds or unrestricted funds at The Community Foundation to ensure that the people in our region remain as safe and supported as possible when disaster strikes. Disaster-preparedness field-of-interest or unrestricted funds at The Community Foundation can be especially attractive because these funds are qualified recipients of QCDs (Qualified Charitable Distributions) from clients’ IRAs.

We look forward to helping your clients improve the lives of those affected by disasters both here in our community and across the nation and world.


Call us any time from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday at 540-432-3863 for questions.


What seems charitable may not always be deductible in the eyes of the IRS

What seems charitable may not always be deductible in the eyes of the IRS

With such a wide range of options available for you and your family to support your favorite causes and your community, ranging from crowdfunding to online solicitations, how do you know whether (and why) your donations are eligible for funding out of your account at The Community Foundation?

In short, contributions to organizations and causes that would fall into the non-tax-deductible category, although worthy investments to help the community, generally are not eligible recipients of grants from your funds at The Community Foundation. Remember, you received a tax deduction when you transferred assets to your fund at The Community Foundation, which means the money needs to be distributed to charitable organizations and causes qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions.

If you’re interested in the legal background, keep reading!

Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code lays out the requirements for organizations to be considered tax-exempt, meaning they don’t pay taxes. This is a status for which an organization must seek IRS approval.

Even under Section 501(c), there are different types of nonprofits that are recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt. To qualify specifically under the Internal Revenue Code Section 170 charitable deduction for gifts to Section 501(c)(3) organizations, the recipient organization must be organized and operated exclusively for “charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.” In other words, “charitable,” according to the IRS, has a very specific definition. Your funds at The Community Foundation help you support the 501(c)(3) charitable organizations you and your family care about.

Separate from your charitable donations, perhaps you and your family also support social welfare groups (organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code). Examples of social welfare groups include neighborhood associations, veterans organizations, volunteer fire departments, and other civic groups whose net earnings are used to promote the common good. Donations to social welfare groups are tax deductible in only certain cases (e.g., gifts to volunteer fire departments and veterans organizations). Your fund at The Community Foundation can’t be used to support non-tax-deductible civic causes, but certainly you can continue supporting these causes out of your personal assets.

Similarly, chambers of commerce and other business leagues fall under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(6); donations to these entities are not tax deductible, either.

In addition to your civic activities, perhaps you’ve also helped set up a dedicated account at a bank to provide scholarships to the children of an accident victim, or even participated in a GoFundMe fundraiser to help a specific family. These vehicles, along with other crowdfunding platforms, typically do not meet the qualifications for a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3), usually because the funds are earmarked for a particular person or persons.

We know the rules are complex and can be overwhelming! If you have any questions about the tax deductibility of your contributions to various organizations, and whether your community foundation funds can be deployed to make the contributions, please reach out to the team at The Community Foundation. We are immersed in the world of Section 501(c) every single day and are happy to help you navigate the rules.

The team at The Community Foundation is honored to serve as a resource and sounding board as you build your charitable plans and pursue your philanthropic objectives for making a difference in the community. We also encourage you to consult your tax or legal advisor to learn how this information might apply to your own situation. 

Call us any time from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday at 540-432-3863 for questions.


Letter to the Washington Post

Last week, the Washington Post published a misinformed article about donor-advised funds. The Council on Foundations, with support of community foundations, immediately responded by penning a letter to the editor. The full text of the letter is below.

We hope the Post will consider publishing this letter, but in the meantime we wish to share it with you.


To the Editor:

Tuesday’s article on donor-advised funds (DAFs) (“Wall Street is sitting on billions meant for American charities,” June 21) provides a laundry list of damaging and inaccurate assertions about DAFs, specifically those created by financial institutions. Community foundations, leading stewards of positive change at the local level, also sponsor DAFs which offer the benefit of being an efficient and less administratively burdensome option for many donors who want to establish philanthropic vehicles.

When donors create DAFs at community foundations, they ensure support for nonprofits and leverage the foundation’s programs, collective giving efforts, and civic leadership to further advance local causes. They are able to address immediate needs and, importantly, long-term efforts.

For more than 100 years, community foundations have partnered with philanthropists to support communities. This includes helping donors identify their giving goals and strategy. DAFs factor into these conversations because of their many benefits. For example, DAFs:

  • Provide flexibility. DAFs allow community foundations to quickly respond to local needs including emergency response efforts.
  • Democratize giving. DAFs require modest financial contributions, making them within the reach of most charitable givers.
  • Connect donors to purpose. DAFs empower individuals to support long-term solutions for tough community issues with the benefit of guidance from professionals.

The real threat to charitable giving is not DAFs but one-sided, mischaracterizations of an important philanthropic vehicle that encourages civic engagement.

Rather than narrowing the breadth of tools available, we should focus on expanding and protecting giving options that help citizens to advance the common good in their communities.

Vikki Spruill, Javier Soto, Randall Royster
Tony Mestres, Hazle Hamilton, Richard Ober
Steve Seleznow, Lorie A. Slutsky, Debbie Wilkerson, Revlan Hill

Ms. Spruill is president and chief executive officer of the Council on Foundations.

Mr. Soto is vice chair of the Council on Foundations’ board of directors and president and chief executive officer of The Miami Foundation.

Mr. Royster is a Council on Foundations’ board of directors member and current past president of the Community Foundations National Standards Board and president and chief executive officer of the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

Mr. Mestres is a Council on Foundations’ board of directors member and president and chief executive officer of The Seattle Foundation.

Ms. Hamilton is president of the Community Foundations National Standards Board and executive vice president of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

Mr. Ober is president and chief executive officer of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

Mr. Seleznow is president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Community Foundation.

Ms. Slutsky is president of the New York Community Trust.

Ms. Wilkerson is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

Ms. Revlan Hill is president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County