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Foundations 101

What is a community foundation?

A community foundation is a charitable organization.

What does a community foundation do?

A community foundation gives grants and scholarships to the local community, it helps donors establish long-term charitable giving plans, and it works with local organizations to support their service of helping individuals in our community.

Can anyone donate to a community foundation?

Yes, all you need to know is what organization or what area of interest you want to donate to. All donations are welcome and help charities with long-term resources. You can give to several charities at one time or you can give to the unrestricted fund which assists all organizations in the county.

Where does the money come from to give out grants and scholarships?

Various charities and donors (at many income levels) add money to existing funds or create their own fund. We invest the funds and each year we are able to distribute a 5% pay-out from to them.

What types of funds does a community foundation offer?

A community foundation has several types of funds; the most common funds are Designated, Donor Advised, Scholarship and Field of Interest. Most community foundations also have an “unrestricted fund” as well.

Why would an organization establish a fund?

Charities would establish a fund when they are looking for long-term source of income.

Why would donors establish a fund?

A donor would establish a fund if they are looking to make grants to their favorite organizations long-term.

Why donate to the unrestricted fund “The Fund for Elkhart County”?

If you are looking to make a yearly gift in a modest amount and not for one particular area of need in the community, this is the fund for you. Each quarter, applications are submitted by local charities applying for grant monies from this particular fund. Grants are made from this fund by the Grant Committee as they review these requests. (note: ECCF’s unrestriced fund, known as the “Fund for Elkhart County,” is found in our Charitable Catalog.)

Why a designated fund?

A designated fund is established for a “designated” purpose. Most of our designated funds are established by charities. The fund is designated for their benefit only.

Why a donor advised fund?

A donor advised fund allows donor’s to “advise” us each year on the charitable organization(s) to which they want to gift to. Also, donor advised funds can be set up to allow children and grandchildren to oversee the gifting after the initial donors death.

Why a field of interest fund?

Some donors have a particular area of interest (example: environmental concerns), but not one particular organization they want the grant to go to each year. Field of interest funds allow you to give to the “field” you are interested in without naming one particular organization.

Why a scholarship fund?

Although this is basically self-explanatory, the truth is there are many, many types of scholarship funds. Scholarships can be established to help students in a particular field of study, students at various levels of their education, state-wide, national, local, men or women, minorities, disabled and so on. The reason scholarship requirements vary is because those guidelines are established by the donor who creates the fund. Scholarship funds are established to encourage post secondary-education.

Who decides who gets the grants?

1. Organizations with a “designated” fund decide each year whether or not they want to take a grant or roll the monies back into their fund for larger fund growth. 2. Individuals with a Donor Advised fund “advise” the foundation, by providing us with a list of names of organization(s) they would like to receive grants from their funds. Those organizations are also notified of the gift from the donor or a donor may wish to rename anonymous in the gift. The Grant Committee oversees the Unrestricted Fund and Field of Interest Funds. The ECCF Grant Committee is comprised of 16 local individuals, some of whom are also Board Members of the foundation representing a broad spectrum of the community and represent all portions of the county.

Who decides who gets the scholarships?

There are four categories of scholarship funds at the foundation: 1. Those that are overseen by the ECCF scholarship committee, 2. Those that are designated for a particular college/university and overseen by their administrators, 3. Those that are held by Dollars for Scholars HS Chapters and overseen by local volunteers, 4. and those established by local service organizations (such as the 4-H) who have their own selection committees. The ECCF Scholarship Committee is comprised of seven individuals all of whom represent a broad spectrum of individuals in the community.

What if I can’t give now, but I want to in the future?

Many people are listed in our Legacy Society. The Legacy Society is a list of individuals who have decided that at end of life they will give a portion of their estate to the community foundation. They generally do not tell us how much the amount is. We do ask them to sign a non-binding form so we can list them in our Legacy Society and because this form is non-binding they can be removed from the list should they change their mind at any time in the future. A fund agreement can also be drafted if they want to specify where they want these monies to go at end of life.

Why a Charitable Gift Annuity through a community foundation?

A Charitable Gift Annuity through a community foundation can yield the same returns of establishing a general gift annuity with a local investment company. ONLY the residium of moneys after death is given to your favorite charitable organization, and community foundations are regulated to ensure that these monies are used to meet the needs of the donative intent forever.






Attention Fund Holders: Access your fund details on our new online donor portal! Login instructions have been sent to your email inbox. Contact us with any questions 574-295-8761.