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Frequently Asked Questions

A few questions & answers about the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada.

General Questions

What is a Community Foundation?

A community foundation is a collection of funds supported by a wide range of donors. Community foundations make grants to nonprofits from funds established by individuals, families, businesses, and others that want to support the work of nonprofits, schools, and other groups that address community concerns. Fundholders recommend grants to nonprofits within our region and throughout the world. Donors from outside the region are welcome to work with the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada and our expert team. There are more than 800 community foundations across the United States.

What is the advantage of a community foundation donor advised fund over a private foundation?

A Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation is less costly, in terms of both time and money, to establish than a private foundation. The Community Foundation can help you establish a Donor Advised Fund in a matter of days and handles all the administrative details. Establishing a private foundation can take months or longer, and you are responsible for substantial legal, accounting, and operational matters. With a donor advised fund, you have the option to remain completely anonymous.

How is the Community Foundation donor advised fund different from commercial gift funds?

At the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada, you receive much more than the check-writing services of a gift fund at a brokerage house. The Community Foundation offers more fund options and giving avenues than the commercial gift funds. The Community Foundation also offers its staff's local, professional expertise to help connect you to the causes you care about.  What sets us apart is the service you receive when you create a Community Foundation Donor Advised Fund.

What is an Endowment?

An endowment is an invested charitable fund that makes annual grants from a portion of the investment’s earnings. The fund principal (original donation) stays intact, and a portion of the invested earnings is granted. The portion of the reserved and not granted earnings are added to fund principal, helping it grow over time. An endowment never ends and growing and granting for generations. Some Community Foundation endowments have granted more than the original fund balance and are larger than they started after a decade of investment.

How do I get started?

Contact your Professional Advisor and/or Chris Askin, President and CEO, to discuss the assets and types of charitable funds that will help you reach your charitable and financial goals.

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 asset as long it is marketable and is not encumbered by 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 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.

Can I involve my Attorney, CPA, Estate, or Financial Planner?

Yes! The Community Foundation works with Professional and Financial Advisors regularly to assist donors in the philanthropic process. We encourage you to include any of your Advisors in exploring and deciding to establish a donor advised fund, charitable trust, or planned legacy gift.

Aren't there some tax advantages to all this?

While tax considerations vary according to assets, generally, you may deduct up to 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash contributions and up to 30% of your AGI for gifts of highly appreciated assets such as publicly traded securities. Tax laws and regulations change frequently. Your tax situation is unique and likely to be affected by specific facts and circumstances. We encourage you to consult with your Professional Advisor when establishing your Fund.

How can the Community Foundation fit into my estate plan?

The Community Foundation will work closely with you and your professional advisor(s) to help facilitate planned gifts of all types through your personal estate plan. You can be confident that your Legacy Fund wishes will be carried out exactly as you intend.

What if I want to keep this private?

The Community Foundation respects requests for anonymity. If you wish your donor advised fund to remain anonymous, you may name it accordingly. You may also indicate if you would like for all or occasional grant distributions from your donor advised fund to be anonymous on your fund agreement. We handle all charitable fund inquiries and distributions with the utmost discretion.

Can I make other gifts to fund? How often?

You are welcome to make additional gifts to your fund in any amount and at any time.

How often can I make distributions?

You may make unlimited grant distributions from your donor advised fund whenever you wish. Email your grant recommendations to your philanthropic advisor or use the Community Foundation DonorCentral website link to recommend a grant 24/7. Endowment fund grants are made annually from a portion of the fund's earnings.

What is the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada’s Privacy Policy?

The Community Foundation of Northern Nevada (Community Foundation) is committed to protecting the privacy of its donors, Board of Trustees, staff, and stakeholders. In addition to this policy, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Foundation staff are bound by the Foundation’s Confidentiality Policy.

Collection of Personal Information

Through its daily activities related to administration and grantmaking, the Community Foundation gathers/has access to information that personally identifies individuals. That information is further protected by the Foundation’s Confidentiality Policy. This information is gathered to maintain complete and accurate records for Community Foundation activities.

Use of Personal Information

The Community Foundation uses the information it gathers for the following purposes:
a. To send occasional invitations to Community Foundation events
b. To send occasional mailings, such as Annual Reports and newsletters
c. To announce special events

Control of Personal Information
As a policy, the Community Foundation does not sell or share personal information it gathers with third parties.

Security of Personal Information
The Community Foundation is committed to protecting the security of personal information. We use various security technologies and procedures to help protect individuals’ information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. For example, we store personal information provided in computer servers with limited access and password protection. In compliance with Nevada statutes, our emails are encrypted. The office facility is protected by an alarm system that is actively monitored. Passwords used by staff members are changed when staff members depart, and volunteer board members do not have access to personal information stored on servers or individual workstations.

Can my nonprofit organization open a fund?

Yes! Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to explore establishing an Organizational Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation to create a perpetual income stream and to work with the Community Foundation's staff on your donor-planned giving programs.