What is a community foundation?
Community Foundations are 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charities with the goal of improving the quality of life in a specific area or region, primarily through endowment building and coordinated grant-making services. Community foundations enrich an area by connecting generosity with need, offering individuals, families and businesses a variety of easy and cost-effective ways to impact their community through charitable giving. Community foundations are governed by a local volunteer board of directors and run by professionals with expertise in assessing the community's need, working with donors and managing assets.
In addition to fund development, investment management and grant-making, community foundations act as catalysts for community improvement by collaborating with a wide variety of partners. They serve as conveners of individuals, institutions and resources to solve community problems; engaging researchers to study community issues and community builders to unite, strengthen and promote their respective communities.
What does the Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County do?
The Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County was originally established in March 2011 by Founding Chairman Frank Hennessey of Hennessey Arabians and Co-Founder, Philanthropist Bob Reilly. We are one of 29 Community Foundations in the state of FL with over 775 nationwide and assets in excess of $73billion.
The Community Foundation serves as a convener-collaborator-catalyst in building community by encouraging philanthropic giving and assisting donors in building an enduring source of charitable assets by allowing people to establish permanent endowment funds, donor advised funds and family foundation funds under the umbrella of one community foundation. We also serve nonprofit organizations whose programs serve the needs and enhance the quality of life for the betterment of all through agency and passthrough funds and assisting donors in directing their charitable grants. The Foundation has grown to 29 funds that reflect the philanthropic interests of their donors and vary from individual donor advised funds/endowments to agency funds/endowments/passthrough including the arts, economic development, scholarships and social services.
We also assist donors in defining their philanthropic interests and provide strategies around the most effective ways to leverage giving for the greatest impact.
What does the Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County fund?
The Community Foundation works in four key sectors: civic-cultural-community-economic development. The funding priorities of donor-advised funds reflect those of our generous and community-spirited individuals, families and companies that have established funds with the Community Foundation.
How is the Community Foundation impacting our community?
In our 5 years of serving as your Community Foundation, we have distributed nearly $1.6 million of contributions collected exceeding $2.6 million supporting our non profits and providing the flexibility needed to meet individual philanthropic goals; We have launched exciting new initiatives including the Accelerate Ocala First Step Fund, the Youth Philanthropy in Action Grant Fund and the Women's Entrepreneur Initiative. We strive through our Non-Endowed Passthrough Funds to assist agencies/organizations with their fund raising campaigns. And with the launch of our Family Foundation Fund we offer yet another vehicle to those with existing Family Foundations or those who wish to begin one - the flexibility, convenience and tax advantages of total administrative and investment management services. We serve as the pulse of the community in identifying key community issues and trends hosting donor, non-profit and professional advisor education workshops/seminars. We participate in a number of diverse working groups and task forces throughout the community and providecapacity-building support to nonprofits to improve efficiency in operations and foster sustainability..
How is the Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County different from other public charities?
Most public charities provide direct and specific services to the community (e.g., emergency food and shelter, early childhood development). Your Community Foundation, while also a public charity, is primarily a grant maker and not a direct service provider. Rather than focus on servicing a particular community need, we serve donors and and seek to address the broad needs of the community. A key difference between a community foundation and other types of charities is that, unlike other philanthropic organizations, we do not ask you to support our cause; rather, we match donors to the casues/issues they care about.
Why give a gift to the Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County rather than give directly to my favorite charity?
There are many great ways to support nonprofits. By establishing a fund with the Community Foundation, you can create an endowed fund, which is a permanent charitable giving account that will grow and produce income over time and enable you to give grants in perpetuity. It also is a great way to organize your giving. Through the Community Foundation, you have the flexibility to address a variety of charitable priorities, whether you support many different causes or your interests change over time. You can set up a fund within your lifetime or create a lasting legacy by creating a bequest to the Community Foundation in your will. A permanent fund with the Community Foundation is a safeguard designed to carry out your charitable objectives in perpetuity – dedicated to making sure the spirit of your gift remains intact through changing time and circumstance. Donors may feel more comfortable making those gifts through the Community Foundation because of our strong community presence and engaged local leadership and exceptional investment management and oversight to assure that donor intent is met by the recipient organizations.
How is the Community Foundation different than the United Way?
Both organizations are vital and essential resources to Ocala Marion County. Some have used the analogy that the United Way is more like the community's checkbook, raising and distributing money annually, while the Foundation is more like a charitable savings account, distributing grants from a long-term fund in perpetuity. The United Way focuses on health and human services in three key areas - health-income-education, while the Foundation's scope of funding is much broader and includes areas such as economic development, education/scholarships, the environment, civic/community betterment, the arts and culture, as well as health and human services.
How does the Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County differ from a private foundation?
A private foundation is usually endowed by a single family or corporation and controlled by that family or corporation. In contrast, a community foundation derives its support from a broad spectrum of the general public and is controlled by a board of community leaders. Because it is publicly supported and controlled, the community foundation is accorded certain advantages over private foundations by the IRS.
Our alternative to a private foundation for an individual, family or corporation is called a Donor-Advised Fund. It:
Is easier and less expensive to establish and maintain
Provides a greater annual tax deduction, in many cases
Provides easy access to information about nonprofits seeking support
Enables you to make gifts of stock options, closely held securities, insurance policies, e and other complex assets with ease and without most IRS limitations
Lowers the administrative cost thereby increasing grant-making capacity
Permits you to time gifts without an IRS-mandated payout schedule
Allows the avoidance of the 1-2% excise tax on investment income
Creates the opportunity to make gifts anonymously
Enables you to establish a legacy of caring in perpetuity – administered and overseen by committed leaders dedicated to preserving donor intent
What are the differences between a donor-advised fund at a commercial financial institution, such as Fidelity or Vanguard, and a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County?
Some of the major financial institutions have created separate nonprofit foundations and are now offering donor-advised funds. While they offer the same tax deductibility as a fund with the Community Foundation, donor-advised funds housed at the Foundation are relationship and service-based. In contrast, commercial donor-advised funds are transaction-based. With our knowledge and expertise, we make donors aware of local needs and local opportunities, enabling us to create giving strategies that reflect the donors' interests.
Further, we can accept a full range of gift opportunities, while commercial funds may be limited to cash and publicly-traded securities.
Donors to the Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County become part of a "family of donors". Commercial funds are not community-based. Fees charged by the Foundation are recycled back into the community to encourage more philanthropy. Fees charged by commercial funds accrue to those financial institutions.
How do Foundation funds work?
All funds are used exclusively for charitable purposes to provide grants to nonprofits or scholarships for students. Many funds are permanent endowments that grow over time and provide a distribution to be used for grants and scholarships each year. Funds share modest administrative expenses on a pro rata basis. Funds are invested in our master portfolio excluding Passthrough Funds and unless a donor at certain giving levels specifies otherwise.
I always thought foundations were for the wealthy. I'm not rich. Why should I think about giving a small amount through the Community Foundation?
Effective and meaningful giving does not require great wealth—just thoughtfulness and planning. We offer a variety of options for making donations. By combining your resources with those of others that share your interests, you can maximize the impact of a modest contribution. Gifts of any size make a difference and are always appreciated. By establishing a fund or donating to an existing fund within the community foundation, donors can contribute their gifts of cash or appreciated assets toward a permanent named endowment or a donor advised fund. Many donors are interested in planned giving and name the community foundation as the beneficiary of their IRAs, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts or bequests.
What types of funds do you offer?
Most community foundations maintain both endowment and non-endowment funds. The most popular type of fund is the donor-advised fund, in which the donor or another designated person has the right to make recommendations to the community foundation regarding grants from the fund. These recommendations are not binding on the community foundation (if they were, the fund would be subject to a material restriction and the gift would not be tax-deductible), but allow the donor to maintain involvement with the fund ongoing. And the community foundation will make every effort to honor "donor intent" in making grants.
Other common fund types include funds that are designated for a particular beneficiary organization or a particular charitable purpose and "agency funds," which are established by a charitable organization to be administered for the benefit of the organization.
Is there a minimum gift to establish a fund?
Generally, a gift of $5,000 is required to establish a donor advised fund. There are higher minimums for certain types of funds such as family foundation funds.
What assets can be contributed to a fund?
Outright gifts of cash and/or securities can be contributed. You may also make a bequest by will or trust or contribute life insurance or retirement plan assets.
Can my children or other family members get involved?
Yes, if you choose to establish a donor-advised fund, you may name co-advisors and successor advisors to continue to guide the fund both while you are involved and far into the future.
How do I make grants from my fund?
Once your fund has reached the minimum balance required to make a distribution, simply contact the Foundation and we will facilitate the grant-making process from your fund - all with the goal of helping you achieve your philanthropic goals.
I am interested in establishing a fund, but some of my interests lie out of town. Can I recommend agencies/organizations beyond Ocala/Marion County?
YES. While we hope most of the grants the Community Foundation makes will go to support community endeavors, we recognize that given the demographics and population diversity of our community, we will have donors who establish funds with the Community Foundation, but who live elsewhere part of the year. Thus, we have donors who request that gifts from their funds go to benefit favorite organizations across the country. The Foundation's Board recognizes that donors who also support national organizations, colleges and universities and nonprofits have all made a philanthropic commitment to building better communities. And, we too have gratefully accepted grants recommended by donors from outside donor-advised funds.
Can I give anonymously?
Yes. The Foundation honors requests for privacy. If a donor wishes to remain anonymous, the Foundation must be notified at the time the gift is made. A request for anonymity means, among other things, that the donor's name will not be published in any public document such as a newsletter or annual report.
How long does it take to get a fund established?
Once decisions are made about the type of fund you want and the asset you wish to donate, the necessary paperwork can be prepared in a matter of minutes.
I want to make grants to a specific type of organization but I am not familiar with any. Can the Foundation help me identify giving opportunities?
Yes. The Community Foundation is highly knowledgeable about a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and will be pleased to assist in identifying grant recipients in your area of interest.
Why Us? Why Now?
Your Community Foundation seeks to enhance the incredible giving spirit that is the hallmark of Ocala Marion County. In times of increasing needs and scarcer resources, the Community Foundation leverages charitable giving for maximum impact.
JOIN US as we commit our Wealth-Wisdom-Work to community building for the betterment of all!