What is a Community Foundation?

Community foundations are set up by individuals, corporations, and families dedicated to improving the quality of life in a specific region. The Community Foundation of Greenville is one of approximately 600 community foundations across the country and around the world.

What does a Community Foundation do?

A community foundation encourages philanthropy and creates opportunities to improve the quality of life for present and future generations in a particular region. The Community Foundation of Greenville has granted more than $40 million to qualified nonprofit organizations in the areas of the arts and humanities, education, early childhood education, religion, and environmental programs. Also, a community foundation provides philanthropic leadership in the community.

Where does a Community Foundation get the money it distributes?

Donors to a community foundation range from people of relatively modest means to those with large financial resources. By establishing a fund or donating to an existing fund within the community foundation, donors can contribute their gifts of cash or appreciated property toward a permanent named endowment or an advised gift fund. Many donors are interested in planned giving and name the community foundation in their IRAs, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, or bequests.

Why do people become donors to the Community Foundation of Greenville?

Donors to the Community Foundation are people with a strong sense of community and personal commitment to making a contribution to the communities in which they live. Some donors want to support worthwhile causes in their communities, and the Community Foundation, which offers considerable expertise and familiarity with the community, can help them find the best way to commit their funds. Other donors appreciate the speed, flexibility, and ease of using the Community Foundation. Because the legal apparatus is already in place, existing forms are available so that a fund can be established quickly and easily.

Who governs the Community Foundation?

The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors that is representative of the community at large.

What are the financial benefits and tax advantages of gifting through the Community Foundation?

The Community Foundation’s approach to planned giving offers a number of important financial benefits to donors. Because the Foundation manages a large number of funds, administrative costs and service fees for any one fund are minimized—meaning less overhead cost to the donor’s fund.

The Community Foundation of Greenville also has a number of different types of funds to accommodate donors who prefer the long–term strategy of endowments as well as those who want to give more actively each year. Donors can choose to establish a donor-advised fund which allows them to recommend grants, or can choose to contribute to an existing fund that is flexible to respond to emerging needs in the community.

How can people give to the Community Foundation?

Individuals may choose to give now to support local charities during their lifetime and in perpetuity. This can be done with gifts of cash, stocks, real estate, or other assets.

Those who choose a deferred gift can take advantage of key elements in estate planning. These planned gifts allow for tax advantages now for the commitment of a charitable gift later. Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Lead Trusts, gifts of life insurance and retirement plan assets may all be used to establish a fund.

Donors may also include provisions in their wills for unrestricted contributions or for contributions to an established or new fund at the Community Foundation. A contribution may save estate taxes as well as ensure the donor’s charitable interests will be supported.

What is the difference between a private family foundation and a fund with the Community Foundation?

People often establish a private family foundation because they don’t know that in many cases working through a community foundation offers an easier alternative. In addition to the tax benefits, a fund through the Community Foundation can be established very quickly. Additionally, the staff of the Foundation takes care of auditing and financial reporting requirements. Many community foundation donors are also pleased by the fact that community foundations have none of the annual payout requirements of private foundations. That means donors may take the time necessary to be thoughtful in recommending charities to receive grants from their fund.

Community foundations combine the tax advantages of a public charity with the lasting quality of a private foundation. Gifts of cash and ordinary income property to a community foundation are deductible up to 50% of adjusted gross income versus 30% for a private foundation. Gifts of appreciated property can be credited for 30% versus 20% for a private foundation. There is no excise tax on community foundations as there is on private foundations.

How do I contact the Community Foundation of Greenville?

You may contact the Community Foundation by calling 864-233-5925 or going to Contact Us and sending an e-mail.  You may also mail us at 630 E. Washington Street, Suite A, Greenville, SC 29601.