Frequently Asked Questions

Here at the Foundation, we get asked a lot of questions, and rightly so. When deciding where to donate your hard earned money, you want to make sure that you know as much as you can. Below you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

What does the Foundation do?
It engages donors in philanthropy through the management, investment and grant making activities of its endowed funds. The Foundation also seeks out other nonprofit, private and government partners in broad collaborative efforts that improve the quality of life for all residents. How does this occur? There are several committees that oversee different areas of the Foundation. They serve in an advisory capacity to offer their expertise and guidance. Their recommendations are reported to the Executive Committee and then on to a Board of Trustees for final consideration.
How is the Foundation governed?
The Foundation is governed by 25 elected Trustees, known as the Board, who represent the various regions of St. Clair County and the President/CEO. The Foundation is not an affiliate or subsidiary of any other entity.
How is the Foundation funded?
The Foundation operations are funded by an administrative fee ranging from 1% to 2% of each endowment fund. It also has specific Administrative Endowment Funds that help cover annual operating costs. The Foundation does not receive any tax or other government funding. The Foundation does not generally conduct fund raising events to help cover operating costs.
Can I make a gift to the Foundation but specify which nonprofit organization I want to support?
Yes. Not only does the Foundation maintain a variety of Agency Endowment Funds, but donors can also specify an area of interest that they would like their gift to support.
Can I name the Foundation as a beneficiary of my life insurance policy?
Yes. Many people find life insurance policies to be a great way to support the Foundation's mission while at the same time receiving tax deductions for the value of their policy.
Can we donate real estate to the Foundation outright or do we have to sell it first?
Property can be donated outright to the Foundation. There is criteria for accepting property, and this can be discussed with you in more detail.
Is there a way I can support my granddaughter's educational expenses and the Foundation at the same time?
Yes. You may want to consider a Charitable Remainder Trust, which can make annual payments to your granddaughter from the earnings of the trust for the duration of her college career. Once she is out of college, the trust assets would be passed on to the Foundation.
What is the minimum amount required to establish an endowment fund?
To ensure the perpetuity of an endowment fund, it must reach a minimum of $25,000 before it can begin support awards. However, you can create the fund with gifts less than that to begin with. Please contact us to discuss the details of how this can be accomplished.
Are all gifts to the Foundation tax deductible?
All donations to the Foundation are deductible as a charitable gift for federal income tax purposes.
Can the Foundation offer advice on appropriate wording to include in our will to clarify our intent and understand our options?
Yes. We can provide you with standard language to use in wills and trusts. We will also gladly refer you to local financial planners to ensure that you are given objective and accurate advice.
How are grants awarded?
Grant requests from Donor Advised Funds are reviewed and approved by the Foundation President. Other grant application are reviewed by the Foundation staff and the Grants Committee. A grant applicant may also be asked to make a brief presentation to this committee regarding their request. The committee then makes its recommendations to the Board of Trustees who ultimately make the final decisions on awards.
Who contributes to the Foundation?
Gifts come to the Foundation from individuals, groups, civic organizations, businesses, and private foundations. Contributions in any amount are appreciated.