Donor FAQs

Do you have a question you don't see answered here? Email us at donorrelations@fftc.org, or call us at 704.973.4529.

What is a community foundation?

How are you different from the commercial gift funds like Fidelity?

What is the advantage of a community foundation over a private foundation?

How do I get started?

Can I/should I involve my attorney, CPA, estate planner, etc.?

Aren't there some tax advantages to all this?

How does opening a Gift Fund work?

What kind of Gift Fund should I choose?

Can I open more than one Gift Fund?

Do I get investment choices?

Who are your investment managers?

What are your fees?

How can the Foundation fit into my estate plan?

How do I establish a charitable trust?

How do I designate or change Advisors to my Gift Fund?

Can my family be involved?

What if I want to keep this private?

Can I make other gifts to my Gift Fund? How often?

How do I find out if my favorite nonprofit organizations are on your Approved List?

How do I get my favorite nonprofit organization on your Approved List if it's not there?

Is there a minimum amount for grant distributions?

How often can I make distributions?

Can I make distributions online?

How and how often will I get information from you about my Gift Fund?

Can my nonprofit organization open a fund?

How do I update my contact information (i.e. change of address, contact name, etc.)?

Can I have a copy of your Annual Report? Newsletter? Donor Brochure?

 

Back to top


What is a community foundation?

A community foundation is a flexible, yet permanent collection of funds supported by a wide range of donors. Community foundations make grants to community groups 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. There are more than 600 community foundations across the United States and nearly 20 in North Carolina.

Back to top


How are you different from the commercial gift funds like Fidelity?

The Foundation offers more charitable products at the same, or less, service charges than the commercial gift funds. The Foundation also offers the local, professional expertise of its staff to help connect you to the community causes you care about.

Back to top


What is the advantage of a community foundation over a private foundation?

A Gift Fund at the Foundation is less costly, in terms of both time and money, to establish than a private foundation. The Foundation can help you establish a Gift 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.

Back to top


How do I get started?

Contact your Professional Advisor and/or a member of the Foundation's Philanthropic Advancement Team at 704.973.4500 to discuss the assets and types of Gift Funds that best fit your charitable interests and financial situation.

Back to top


Can I/should I involve my attorney, CPA, estate planner, etc.?

The 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 Gift Fund or Charitable Trust.

Back to top


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 that are beyond the Foundation's control or knowledge. We encourage you to consult with your Professional Advisor when establishing your Gift Fund.

Back to top


How does opening a Gift Fund work?
You establish your Gift Fund by completing a Gift Fund Agreement and providing an initial irrevocable contribution. You may make charitable gift distributions from your Gift Fund in any amount over $250 and at any time.

Back to top


What kind of Gift Fund should I choose?

The type of Gift Fund you choose depends on your specific charitable interests and needs. Non-endowed Gift Funds typically are used for current giving programs and allow you to grant 100% of your Gift Fund's balance. Endowed Gift Funds typically are used for permanent charitable giving; you may only spend 5% of the balance of the Gift Fund. Quasi-endowed Gift Funds are invested for the short term to provide liquidity; the entire balance is available for distribution.

Back to top


Can I open more than one Gift Fund?
Many of our donors have established Endowed, Quasi-endowed and Non-endowed Gift Funds to accommodate their specific charitable interests, as well as created planned gifts to ensure their wishes are met in perpetuity. The Foundation will work with you and your Professional Advisor(s) to create a charitable giving plan that is tailored to your unique situation.

Back to top


Do I get investment choices?

We are now offering Premium money market returns to all Non-Endowed Charitable Gift Funds with annual average balances of $25,000 or more. Funds at this level will be offered a choice between premium money market returns or a 50/50 fixed income and equity allocation in one of the Foundation's investment pools. And Funds with annual average balances of $100,000 or more will be offered an additional choice of 60/40 or 75/25 fixed income and equity allocation in the Foundation's investment pools.

Back to top


Who are your investment managers?

The Foundation works with more than 20 investment managers.

Back to top


What are your fees?

The Foundation is a nonprofit charitable entity and incurs general operating expenses. Specialized service teams of financial and philanthropic experts work to meet our clients' diverse needs through three Centers For Giving. In each Center, several distinct service levels are available based on average annual gift fund balance. Click here to view options for the Center for Personal and Family Philanthropy, Center for Nonprofits and the Center for Corporate Philanthropy.

Please contact the Philanthropic Advancement Team if you have a specific need or question regarding pricing and service options.

Back to top


How can the Foundation fit into my estate plan?
The Foundation will work closely with you and your Professional Advisor(s) to help facilitate planned gifts of all types through your personal estate plan.

Back to top


How do I establish a charitable trust?
The Foundation offers several types of Charitable Trusts, and can serve as Trustee and provide administrative management and investment of your assets. You should consult with your Professional Advisor and a member of our Philanthropic Advancement Team with detailed questions about the type of Charitable Trust that would best suit your needs.

Back to top


How do I designate or change Advisors to my Gift Fund?

Only Advisors named in your Gift Fund Agreement may make advisory recommendations on behalf of your Gift Fund. During your lifetime or by will, you may request in writing that the Foundation add or change Advisors to your Gift Fund by submitting a Gift Fund Information Form.

Back to top


Can my family be involved?

The Foundation encourages you to include your family in your charitable planning. You may add up to two generations of Successor Advisors to your Gift Fund.

Back to top


What if I want to keep this private?
The Foundation respects requests for anonymity. If you wish your Gift 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 Gift Fund to be anonymous on your Gift Fund Agreement.

Back to top


Can I make other gifts to my Gift Fund? How often?

Additional gifts to your Gift Fund can be made in any amount and at any time.

Back to top


How do I find out if my favorite nonprofit organizations are on your Approved List?
The Board of Directors approves, and the Foundation staff maintains, a list of organizations eligible to receive distributions from Gift Funds. Click here to review the current list of Approved Organizations.

Back to top


How do I get my favorite nonprofit organization on your Approved List if it's not there?
The Foundation welcomes and encourages suggestions of additions to this list. If you wish to recommend a grant distribution to an organization not currently approved, you may submit a request for such a gift. The Foundation staff will research the organization within five business days.

Back to top


Is there a minimum amount for grant distributions?

The Foundation's current minimum grant distribution is $250.

Back to top


How often can I make distributions?

The Foundation allows unlimited grant distributions from your Gift Fund.

Back to top


Can I make distributions online?

They can, by visiting this Web site for a Distribution Recommendation Form, or, if they are registered, by visiting Access My Fund, the Foundation's secure account information site.

Back to top


How and how often will I get information from you about my Gift Fund?

The Foundation creates and sends quarterly statements reflecting activity in your Gift Fund. You may also receive relevant Gift Fund information as a registered user of Access My Fund, the Foundation's secure account information site.

Back to top


Can my nonprofit organization open a fund?

Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to explore establishing a Gift Fund at the Foundation to insure fiscal perpetuity and to work with the Foundation's staff on planned giving programs.

Back to top


How do I update my contact information (i.e. change of address, contact name, etc.)?

The Foundation assumes that Opening Donor or Advisor 1 (as named in your Gift Fund Agreement) will be the primary contact to receive statements and other information. You should keep the Foundation informed of any changes to your address or other contact information by contacting the Donor Relations Team.

Back to top


Can I have a copy of your Annual Report? Newsletter? Donor Brochure?

Click here to request any of our publications.

Back to top


Donate to the Lancaster County Community Foundation


In the News

Click here for recent media coverage of the Lancaster County Community Foundation. 

Philanthropy Focus

Click here to download Lancaster County Community Foundation's most current newsletter.


For more information about Lancaster County Community Foundation, contact:

David Julian
Vice President
Philanthropic Advancement 
704.973.4511
djulian@fftc.org