What is the Community Foundation for Muskegon County?
We are a collection of more than 900 permanently-endowed charitable funds created by individuals, families, companies, and organizations to benefit charitable organizations and causes throughout Muskegon County and beyond.
What types of funds do you administer?
Why do donors establish funds at the Foundation instead of giving directly to their favorite charities?
Some donors have a desire to provide ongoing support to a particular organization in perpetuity. Many feel more comfortable making those gifts through the Foundation because of our permanence, our professional investment management, and our oversight role in making sure their wishes are met by the recipient organizations.
How much control and freedom do I have in recommending gift recipients, including faith based organizations such as my church or synagogue, through my donor advised fund?
You can recommend a grant to any organization that falls within the broad philanthropic mission of the Foundation and is qualified as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code which includes most faith based programs. The United States has over 650,000 IRS-approved charities. The Foundation will ensure that groups recommended for a grant meet this requirement.
In complying with federal tax laws, and for your protection, the Foundation must reject grant recommendations that would benefit an individual, fulfill a personal obligation, support a political campaign, or a private foundation.
Can I recommend grants to charities outside of Muskegon County?
Although our focus is on the needs of Muskegon County, we allow grant distributions from donor advised and designated funds to any nonprofit organizations qualified as 501(c)(3) in the U.S.
What is the minimum gift required to start a fund?
In most cases, the minimum for establishing a fund with the Community Foundation is $10,000. Scholarship funds require a minimum gift of $20,000.
What type of assets can I use to start a fund?
The Foundation has the ability to accept a range of assets including:
• Stocks and bonds
• Real estate
• Personal property, such as jewelry and artwork
• Life insurance policies
• IRA assets
What does it cost to start a fund?
There is no cost for starting a fund at the Foundation. Our annual fee structure depends on the type of fund and ranges from .5% to 2%. This "Foundation support" fee contributes to the total operation of the Foundation, all in support of the community.
How do the Foundation’s costs compare with those of commercial gift funds and private foundations?
The Foundation’s fees are highly competitive with commercial gift funds, but even more importantly, the Foundation offers you a unique value that can come from our staff’s knowledge of the community and expertise in the philanthropic field.
Opening a fund at the Foundation is considerably less expensive than starting a private foundation, since we handle all administrative details, including filing annual tax returns, performing due diligence on grants, and all details associated with processing and tracking grants. There are also no setup fees.
Can I get my money back if I change my mind?
No, because gifts to the Foundation are irrevocable. The decision to partner with the Foundation is a serious one, and we encourage prospective fundholders to discuss their intent with their financial or legal advisors.
Can I make a gift to the Foundation and retain income for myself or a family member?
Yes, we offer several opportunities to make life income gifts. We are happy to work with you and your professional advisors to determine which type of gift is right for you.
Can my children or other family members get involved?
Yes, if you choose 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.
What is the Foundation’s policy around donor confidentiality?
The Foundation maintains the highest level of confidentiality with respect to donor information. We will not share donor names, addresses, or fund-related financial information with any individual or organization outside the Foundation without express permission from donors.