- Q. What is a Community Foundation?
- Q. How do community foundations differ from other nonprofit organizations?
- Q. How is a community foundation funded?
- Q. How does Douglas County benefit from having a local community foundation?
- Q. Why should I give to DCCF rather than directly to nonprofits?
- Q. Isn’t DCCF just a pass-through organization?
Q. What is a Community Foundation?
A Community Foundation is a tax-exempt, independent, publicly supported philanthropic organization established and operated as a permanent collection of endowed funds, donor advised funds, field-of-interest, or designated project funds to support a broad range of charitable activities in a defined geographic area.
The Community Foundation actively seeks new contributions from a wide range of donors and provides services to assist those donors in fulfilling their philanthropic interests. Unrestricted gifts from donors enable the foundation to build a flexible, permanent endowment in support of grant making to creatively address emerging and changing community needs in such fields as education, arts and culture, health, social services, community development, environment, and historic preservation.
A Community Foundation also provides leadership on pervasive community problems by serving as a facilitator, convener, or mediator around significant community issues and provides technical advice to area nonprofits.
With an independent governing body representing the broad interests of the community, the Community Foundation is not controlled or influenced by other organizations, governmental units or charities, and adheres to a sense of community that overrides individual interests and objectives.
Q. How do community foundations differ from other nonprofit organizations?
Most nonprofit organizations have a specific mission. By contrast, a Community Foundation’s mission is very broad: to improve the quality of life in a given area. This breadth of mission reflects our ability to make grants in any field of interest with a charitable benefit to local communities.
This flexibility allows us to serve a wider group of potential donors on the one hand and, on the other, a wider group of nonprofit organizations whom we consider our partners in improving local communities.
Area nonprofits benefit from having a local Community Foundation because the community foundation helps money stay in a community. Community Foundations benefit local nonprofits in other ways, too: besides having local grant money available, some nonprofits ask the Community Foundation to manage an endowment on their own behalf. We call such funds “agency endowment funds.”
As it grows, a Community Foundation gradually becomes a center for charitable giving in a community. We help make connections between the people who want to give and the people who need their support.
Q. How is a community foundation funded?
A. Our major source of support comes from contributions of cash, securities, and real property from local individuals, families, businesses and foundations. Such contributions are often made as simple gifts, but many choose to give through their will or by using a form of planned giving such as a charitable remainder trust.
Q. How does Douglas County benefit from having a local community foundation?
A. Our community foundation offers two primary benefits to Douglas County:
- We help raise the level of local giving, and we help keep charitable dollars in the local community. It is our aim to build a local source of charitable capital that will become a steady, long-term resource for our communities.
- We help to ensure that charitable endowment gifts given to help our community will remain effective and relevant over long periods of time. Even as local needs and giving opportunities change, a community foundation is able to adapt charitable funds to find relevance in a changing community.
Q. Why should I give to DCCF rather than directly to nonprofits?
A. We encourage you to continue supporting the Douglas County nonprofits that you care about, but consider also supporting DCCF. In some instances, a charity may be doing outstanding work in their mission area, but does not have the financial expertise to manage and invest your gift for the best impact. Giving through the Community Foundation can benefit the causes you care about because of: our commitment to endowment (meaning your gift makes a permanent impact); our ability to accept complex gifts; and our professional expertise in managing and investing your gift. Our goal is to ensure that the County as a whole, and the nonprofits within it, are stronger and more effective.
Q. Isn’t DCCF just a pass-through organization?
A. DCCF is a Community Foundation, which brings resources together to address needs, provide training and educate the community about the power of generosity. Most contributions will not be passed through to nonprofits – they will be used to offer programs that help nonprofits and donors have greater impact in our communities.