What is a Community Foundation?

A community foundation is a tax-exempt public charity that enables people to establish charitable funds. Community foundations make grants to community groups from funds established by individuals, families, businesses and others who wish to support the work of non-profit groups, schools and other groups that address community needs.

Assets donated to the foundation create one of several types of funds to support your charitable goals. A fund can be created in honor of someone you love or to celebrate a special event. You can direct your gift broadly, wherever needs are the greatest, or to issues you care about deeply.

Your fund's assets will be pooled with our other funds and managed by investment professionals. The foundation's distribution design is created to spend a portion of the growth each year from the fund and retain earnings each year to "grow the fund" in order for the fund to be in place for perpetuity.

Like all community foundations, we are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of leading citizens and professionals with expertise in knowing our community's needs. We go beyond simply making grants to advance charitable activities. We also strive to identify current and emerging issues in our communities and stimulate resources to address those needs and help our region prepare for the future.

We offer you the power and flexibility in charitable giving without the paperwork, time and expenses associated with managing your own private foundation. We help you set up a fund that will maximize both your tax advantages and your impact in the community.

However you decide to give, your gift changes lives today and in the future.

Key features of a community foundation include:


Creating a philanthropic fund through a community foundation can avoid the legal complexity, administrative burdens and compliance requirements of establishing and maintaining a private foundation.

Tax Benefits

Gifts and bequests to a community foundation typically receive maximum income, gift and estate tax benefits; integrating a charitable giving program through a community foundation with your overall financial plan can further these benefits.

Community Impact

Giving through a community foundation allows donors to put their charitable dollars directly to work in their own communities.


A community foundation can accept nearly any kind of gift, from cash and real estate to stock and other appreciated assets. An individual, family, business or organization can create a philanthropic fund for virtually any charitable purpose.


Endowing a fund at a community foundation is a fitting way to memorialize or honor a loved one and create a permanent legacy to be remembered for generations. Also, if a donor is interested in complete anonymity to protect their identity, this type of fund can be established as well.

Cost Effectiveness

Because a community foundation manages many individual donor gifts, it can service and administer each of them at a fraction of the cost of a private foundation or smaller non-profit organization.