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What is a community foundation?
A community foundation is a tax exempt charitable organization that provides support -- primarily for the needs of the geographic community or region where it is based -- from funds that it maintains and administers on behalf of multiple donors.
Like a public charity, community foundations seek support from the general public, but like private foundations, they also provide grants. Due to their broad public support, however, the IRS does not consider community foundations to be private foundations.
In addition to their own grant programs, many community foundations manage and/or administer:
- Donor advised funds, on behalf of individual donors
- Scholarship funds, on behalf of individual donors
- Technical assistance/training programs for nonprofits
What are the advantages of a community foundation over other charities?
There are a number of ways in which community foundations can achieve results that typical charities cannot. Community foundations generally provide a one-stop shop for donors who want their gifts to have an impact throughout their communities; a donor can make arrangements with a community foundation that leave the donor flexibility in the timing and distribution of gifts to particular target charities. Also, while smaller charities may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with taking certain types of unusual assets as donations - such as appreciated stock, real estate, collectibles, and other property that is difficult to liquidate - community foundations have the experience and contacts to help donors and charities unlock the value of unusual gifts.
Additionally, by providing a clearinghouse for donations, community foundations can gather contributions from multiple donors and put them together into a single fund, creating a more substantial effect on the community. By coordinating grants, matching funds, and other resources, community foundations can tap into every available source of funding for a given cause.
Finally, by keeping current on tax laws that confer benefits to charitable donors, community foundations can provide valuable assistance with planned giving and complex charitable planning.
What types of funds can be established?
Donors have a wide range of interests and many different goals. The Wayne County Community Foundation has a selection of already established funds. Typically they fall within four categories of interest: Humanitarian, Educational, Environmental, and Cultural. However, donors may establish a new fund with their own interests, tailored to their fund development and target focus.
How are funds invested?
Funds in the Foundation are “pooled” and managed by investment professionals with one of our local institutions: The Wayne Bank, The Honesdale National Bank, The Dime Bank, and Morgan Stanley.
Why give to a community foundation instead of establishing my own private foundation?
There are significant tax advantages to setting up a support organization or donor advised fund at a community foundation. Also, the administrative burden of the daily operations of running a private foundation is eliminated, as is the federal requirement of 5% annual distribution.
What types of charities receive grants?
Grants awarded through specific funds at the Wayne County Community Foundation must be made to nonprofit organizations. With donor designated funds, your choice or cause can be that which you choose.
How does a nonprofit organization apply for a grant?
Our grant guidelines and applications are available on our website. Feel free to reach out to our Executive Director, Ryanne Jennings by email or by phone (570.251.9993) to discuss your application prior to submission.
What is the minimum contribution needed to start a fund?
While there is no minimum amount needed to start a fund, we require that you defer making any disbursements until the fund reaches $10,000. Typically, once a fund reaches this threshold, an annual grant of $500 would preserve the principal in perpetuity.
Can I pass the right to make grant recommendations down to my children or other members of my family?
Absolutely! When you begin a fund, you can name an unlimited number of successor advisors.
Specifically, what are the various types of funds?
We offer a variety of funds that are flexible to meet our donors’ different charitable interests:
1. Unrestricted Funds offer the broadest giving option, allowing grants to be made wherever our board determines our community’s needs are greatest.
2. Field-of-Interest Funds create grants that meet needs in a particular field or geographic area that is of interest to you.
3. Donor-Advised Funds enable you to recommend specific organizations to receive grants.
4. Scholarship Funds help students pursue academic goals. You may define guidelines for candidacy, the advisory committee, the school and the award itself.
5. Designated Funds let you support specific organizations while we make sure that grants to these groups remain relevant over time and responsive to changing circumstances.
6. Organizational Endowment Funds are established by nonprofit organizations to provide income to them. We handle all administrative and investment responsibilities, freeing the organization to pursue its charitable mission.
Why Choose the Wayne County Community Foundation?
1. We know Wayne County, its organization, its needs, its potential. Our Board members represent all corners of the county.
2. We help you achieve superior tax benefits.
3. We make set-up and administration easy.
4. We share your interests! We are here to help you become connected to the issues you care about most.
5. We care about the future. By setting up a fund, you have the ideal opportunity to create a legacy for yourself and for our county.