Professional Advisors FAQs

Do you have a question you don't see answered here? Or do you have a suggestion for a Frequently Asked Question we should add to this list? Email us at infor@fftc.org, or call us at 704.973.4500.


What is Foundation For The Carolinas?

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?

What services can you offer that will make my job easier? For example, do you offer customized calculations?

What's the Planned Giving Design Center?

What's the Investment Alliance Program? How can my firm become an Investment Alliance Partner?

How do I get my clients started?

What are the tax advantages to all this?

How does it work?

What kind of Gift Fund should I advise my clients to choose and what are the costs?

Do my clients get investment choices or do they have to use yours?

Who are your investment managers?

Are there any fees for any of this?

Do you charge advisors like me any fees?

How can the Foundation fit into my clients' estate plans?

Does the Foundation serve as trustee?

Can my clients' families be involved?

What if my clients want to keep this private?

Can my clients make other gifts to their Gift Funds? How often?

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

Is there a minimum amount for grant distributions?

How often can my clients make distributions?

Can my clients make distributions online?

How and how often will they get information from you about their Gift Fund(s)? Can I get copies of that information?

I work with a nonprofit organization - can it also open a fund?

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

Can someone from the Foundation come to my office for a presentation with my associates?

What is Foundation For The Carolinas?
Foundation For The Carolinas is a nonprofit community foundation that manages and invests charitable funds for individuals, families, businesses and other nonprofit organizations.

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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.

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How are you different from the commercial gift funds like Fidelity?
The Foundation offers more charitable products at the same, or lesser, service charges than the commercial gift funds. The Foundation also offers the local, professional expertise of its staff to help connect your clients to the community causes they care about.

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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 your clients establish a Gift Fund in a matter days and handles all the administrative details. Establishing a private foundation can take months or longer, and they are responsible for substantial legal, accounting and operational matters.

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What services can you offer that will make my job easier? For example, do you offer customized calculations?
The Foundation works closely with more than 500 Professional Advisors in the Charlotte region to offer services including assistance with research, document samples, customized calculations, personalized presentations and attendance at client meetings.

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What's the Planned Giving Design Center?
The Planned Giving Design Center is a free, comprehensive online planned giving resource for Professional Advisors, designed to complement the services offered by the Foundation's experienced staff.

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What's the Investment Alliance Program? How can my firm become an Investment Alliance Partner?
The Foundation has established alliances with several investment management institutions in order to increase charitable giving throughout the Carolinas in a cooperative effort. The institutions retain the investment management of assets of their charitable clients, while the Foundation oversees the philanthropic process. Investment managers with a charitable client base of at least $1 million, among other requirements, are eligible for the program. Contact the Philanthropic Advancement Team for more information.

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How do I get my clients started?
Contact the Philanthropic Advancement Team to discuss the assets and types of Gift Funds that best fits your clients' charitable interests and financial situation.

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What are the tax advantages to all this?
While tax considerations vary according to assets, generally, your clients may deduct up to 50% their adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash contributions, and up to 30% their AGI for gifts of highly appreciated assets such as publicly traded securities. As you know, tax laws and regulations change frequently. Your clients' tax situations are unique and likely to be affected by specific facts and circumstances that are beyond the Foundation's control or knowledge.

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How does it work?
Your clients establish their Gift Fund(s) by completing a Gift Fund Agreement and providing an initial irrevocable contribution of $10,000 or more. They may make charitable gift distributions from their Gift Fund(s) in any amount over $250 and at any time.

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What kind of Gift Fund should I advise my clients to choose and what are the costs?
The type of Gift Fund your clients choose depends on their specific charitable interests and needs.

  • Non-endowed Gift Funds typically are used for current giving programs and allow them to grant 100% of their Gift Fund's balance(s).
  • Endowed Gift Funds typically are used for permanent charitable giving; your clients may only spend 5% of the balance of the Gift Fund(s).
  • Quasi-endowed Gift Funds are invested for the short term to provide liquidity; the entire balance is available for distribution.

See Chapter 6 of the Charitable Giving Guide for descriptions and fees.

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Do my clients get investment choices or do they have to use yours?
The Foundation's investment pool is a diversified portfolio of fixed income, large cap, small cap, international and hedge fund investment vehicles managed by highly specialized investment managers. These managers are selected and monitored by the Investment Committee. Investments for gift funds vary depending on the type of fund, the level of risk, the length of investment period, the level of diversification, and the overall charitable objective. The Foundation is pleased to extend to qualified donors (dependent on the asset balance and level of services required) the opportunity to provide recommendations for the asset allocation of their gift funds. IRS rulings validate this policy but require the Foundation to retain final discretion regarding investment decisions.

Investment options at the Foundation generally fall into two distinct classes:

  • Endowed or Quasi-endowed Gift Funds. These funds provide an ongoing income stream that will support the designated charitable objective for the long term.
  • Non-endowed Gift Funds. These funds provide that both income and principal would be available for charitable distributions.

Detailed information about investment options can be found in the Charitable Giving Guide in Chapter 9b.

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Who are your investment managers?
The Foundation works with more than 20 investment managers.

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Are there any fees for any of this?
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.

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Do you charge Advisors like me any fees?
No, the Foundation views it work with Professional Advisors as part of its charitable responsibility.

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How can the Foundation fit into my clients' estate plans?
The Foundation will work closely with you and your clients to help facilitate planned gifts of all types through their personal estate plans.

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Does the Foundation serve as trustee?
Yes, the Foundation offers several types of Charitable Trusts and provides administrative management and investment of your clients' assets.

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Can my clients' families be involved?
The Foundation encourages your clients to include their families in their charitable planning. They may add up to two generations of Successor Advisors to their Gift Fund.

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What if my clients want to keep this private?
The Foundation respects requests for anonymity. If your clients wish their Gift Fund to remain anonymous, they may name it accordingly. They may also indicate if they would like for all or occasional grant distributions from their Gift Fund to be anonymous on their Gift Fund Agreements.

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Can my clients make other gifts to their Gift Funds? How often?
Additional gifts to your clients' Gift Funds can be made in any amount and at any time.

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How do my clients find out if their 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.

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Is there a minimum amount for grant distributions?
The Foundation's current minimum grant distribution is $250.

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How often can my clients make distributions?
The Foundation allows unlimited grant distributions from Gift Funds.

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Can my clients 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.

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How and how often will they get information from you about their Gift Fund(s)? Can I get copies of that information?
The Foundation creates and sends statements reflecting activity in all Gift Funds (the frequency of statements depends upon average annual gift fund balance).

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I work with a nonprofit organization - can it also 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.

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Can I have a copy of your Annual Report? Newsletter? Donor Brochure?
Click here to request any of our publications.

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Can someone from the Foundation come to my office for a presentation with my associates?
Members of the Foundation's Philanthropic Advancement Team are happy to arrange a time for conversation with you, your clients and associates.

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Cabinet of Professional Advisors:

Clint Crocker
Barry Evans Josephs & Snipes

Craig DeLucia
Ernst & Young LLP

Jennie Derby
Northwestern Mutual

Leila Evans
Solamere Advisors

Tim Flanagan
HF Financial

Jessica Hardin
Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.

James C. Hardin III
James C. Hardin III, PLLC

Carl King
Culp Elliott & Carpenter, P.L.L.C.

Leah Maybry
Elliott Davis

Billy Morton
U.S. Trust-Bank of America Private Wealth Management

Andrew Nesbitt
Nesbitt Law

Robert Norris
Wishart Norris Henninger & Pittman

Karen Owensby
Wealth Management Associates, Inc.

Eric Ridenour
Colony Family Offices

Darrell Shealy
Johnson Allison & Hord

Jason Sykes
SunTrust Bank

Sandi Thorman
GreerWalker, LLP

Brad Van Hoy
Moore & Van Allen

Mitchell Wickman
Merrill Lynch