Misconceptions

  1. Community Foundations are only for the rich.

    • Community Foundations were actually originally created and exist today to give people of all economic levels the same opportunities afforded only to the wealthy in the past: The ability to set aside a sum of money that will yield income perpetually to be used for charitable purposes.  Community Foundations are administered by a volunteer Board of Directors who strive to represent the community’s best interests.

  2. Community Foundations duplicate the work of other national and local charities.

    • The truth about Community Foundations is that they actually complement the work of other charities.  Most charities depend on regular income from annual campaigns to fund operations.  Community Foundations represent the community “savings account” that can provide funding for the entire non-profit sector.  They are not tied to a specific program but rather seek to serve the entire community.

  3. Community Foundations are expensive to operate.

    • On the contrary, Community Foundations are structured to provide economies of scale.  By co-mingling the gifts of many people for management purposes, operating expenses are kept to a minimum.  The operating expenses of the CFWA is usually around 1% per year.

  4. Community Foundations support only special interests.

    • In actuality Community Foundations serve a broad range of interests and reflect the wishes, needs and convictions of the entire community.  Anyone is welcome to establish a Fund with his or her particular interests in mind or to give to the Community or Unrestricted Fund from which grants are given to support a variety of local charities and projects.

  5. Community Foundations are like private foundations.

    • Community Foundations are, in fact, quite different from private foundations by law and by governance.  Community Foundations are classified by tax law as public charities.  Therefore, Community Foundations can provide donors with the maximum tax advantage for gifts.