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General Questions

What is the difference between setting up a gift fund through my investment firm and establishing a fund at the Community Foundation of Western Nevada?

At the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, we provide much more than the check writing services of a gift fund at a brokerage house. One of the most significant advantages to setting up a fund with us is our donor services department, which provides custom research on a nonprofit organization or issue area at your request. Our donor services staff will also meet with you individually to help develop a strategic approach to grantmaking. If you are interested in learning more about these personalized services, please call Tracy Turner, Chief Philanthropy Officer at 775-333-5499.

What kinds of assets can be used to set up a fund at the community foundation?

One of the distinct advantages of working with a community foundation is our flexibility. As a general rule, a community foundation can accept any type of asset as long it is marketable and is not encumberedby an unusual liability. Most often, funds are started through a gift of cash, real estate or closely held stock, but we have accepted gifts of artwork, intellectual property and other personal assets.

There are also several convenient financial vehicles for setting up a fund at the community foundation, with different benefits. We offer charitable remainder and lead trusts, gift annuities and several ways to use retirement funds to reduce estate taxes, provide for income to heirs and establish a charitable legacy. President and CEO, Chris Askin is well versed in planned giving options, and can help you identify the one that best suits your needs.

Why should I set up a Fund at the Community Foundation instead of a Private Foundation?

A donor advised fund is simpler and less expensive than a private foundation. You may name the fund after yourself, for example The Smith Family Foundation Fund. All grants distributed by the fund (unless you specify them as anonymous) will be sent in your fund’s name. You will have the flexibility and ability to give to your favorite nonprofit organizations but without the office and paper work required by private foundation IRS regulations . More of your charitable money can go directly to the causes you care about and more of your time is freed to actually enjoy being involved in philanthropy.

Scholarship Questions

How can I apply for a scholarship at the Community Foundation? What is the timeline for awarding scholarships?

The foundation administers a number scholarship funds dedicated to students pursuing education. Check the scholarship web page for information on each fund and its selection criteria. Most applications are available by January of February of each year. You may download and complete the application for any scholarship for which you believe you are qualified. In most cases the applications are returned to the Foundation office by a specific date, usually the end of February through March. The Scholarship Fund selection committee will review the applications during the month of April and the Foundation will notify the applicants regarding their selection. In addition, a number of online resources exist that can assist you in your search. These include:
FinAid.com
Collegeboard.com
FastWeb.com
Collegenet.com
Scholarships.com
theSallieMaeFund.com

How do I receive my scholarship award? 

Once you have completed and returned the Scholarship Acceptance Form to our office with proper contact information, we will send a scholarship check to you at the address you provide in late summer. The check will be made payable to both you and your school. Present the check to the school business office and the award will be applied to your school account to cover tuition and other related school fees. If you choose to have the award paid to the campus bookstore, an account in your name can be established that you may use to purchase books and other school materials. (Please confirm with your college or university that a bookstore account can be opened with your scholarship award under your name.) The award is intended to cover the entire academic year, unless otherwise specified. Please note that every college financial aid office has a different policy for applying scholarship awards; please talk with your financial aid officer ahead of time if you have questions about how the scholarship would be distributed.

When submitting my Scholarship Renewal Form, can I send unofficial transcripts?

Yes, unofficial college transcripts are acceptable. Transcripts need to include student’s name and/or Student Identification Number. If only the Student’s Identification Number is printed, please also submit a copy of your current student identification card that clearly states your name and identification number.

How do I renew my scholarship?

Not all scholarships administered by the Community Foundation are renewable; however, if you have been awarded a scholarship that is renewable for one or more years, you will be notified in the original letter of congratulation. To renew your scholarship, you must send us a copy of your most recent transcript at the completion of each school semester or term. This transcript is used to verify that you have maintained your enrollment, and have met any other requirements, such as GPA, that may be relevant to your scholarship. Toward the end of each academic year, you will receive the Scholarship Renewal Form and a letter reminding you to forward the requested information to our office by June 30th.

I was not able to return the acceptance/renewal form by the deadline. Can I still receive my award?

Yes, but we advise that you send in the form as soon as possible. The quicker you return the completed form, the quicker your scholarship award will be processed and sent to your school. Your goal should be to have all completed materials to the foundation so it can process and send your award before school starts, so it may be applied to your tuition fees before payment is due.

I decided not to attend University A and instead will be enrolling at University B. Can I get my scholarship back from University A so that I can use it at University B?

Yes, please contact University A’s Financial Aid Office and request that they refund the money in full to CFWN as soon as possible. (They will probably do this anyhow, but receiving a call from you might help speed the process along. We cannot re-issue the scholarship to your new school until the funds have been returned. Since processing refunds sometimes take a long time at schools, please be aware that your scholarship may not be sent to your new school as quickly as you would like.) If you change schools at the end of a semester your remaining scholarship award will most likely be half of the total yearly amount. Once the refund has been processed, contact our office and provide us with your new school’s information.

Will I have to pay taxes on this scholarship award?

If your scholarship is used for tuition, fees, books, supplies and/or equipment required for enrollment or class attendance, the award is not taxable. Please be aware that if you utilize this scholarship for educational expenses that are not considered tax-exempt, we suggest that you obtain professional tax advice. A good resource on this topic can be found on the Internet at www.irs.gov/faqs.

What does full-time status mean?

Full-time status means that you are enrolled in a course load at your school that is greater than what part-time students carry. Each school will have a different unit minimum, although full-time status typically involves at least three to four courses. For example, at a University of Nevada, Reno and TruckeeMeadowsCommunity College full-time status is equal to a course load of 12 units. It is your responsibility to check with your college or university to ensure that you are meeting the minimum requirement(s) applicable to your award.

What if I don’t know my school address yet?

Leave this section blank or write “not yet known.” Please be sure to contact CFWN once you do know your school address. This way we can contact you during the school year if necessary. It is your responsibility to ensure that CFWN has your current contact information on file. Please feel free to contact CFWN scholarship staff members anytime throughout the year to provide them with your updated contact information. We will unless directed send your scholarship check to the address on your scholarship acceptance or scholarship renewal acceptance form. In many cases this is the recipient’s home address.