What is a community foundation?

When you consider charitable giving, there are likely a number of organizations that come to mind. And that is exactly the challenge for many people trying to start a journey toward giving – where do you even start?

Most soon-to-be philanthropists don’t realize that giving doesn’t have to start with an organization; it can start with the gentle prodding that you feel in your heart to be more generous. That prodding can lead you to an organization that can help you strategically plan your giving – a community foundation.

Simply put, a community foundation is a conduit and facilitator of your generosity. They file donations away into donor-advised funds. Think of these funds as a charity piggy bank where you can safely store money until you’re ready to make a charitable contribution. While you’re deciding where you’d like to donate, your community foundation partner is investing your donor-advised fund, and it’s growing tax-free. So, when you’re ready to give, your original donation is larger than it was when you started. That’s a win-win!

What’s the benefit of donating to a community foundation? Well, for starters, community foundations are knowledgeable experts in giving. If you’re unsure of where you’d like to donate but can articulate causes that matter to you, your local community foundation can help connect you to organizations you may choose to support. Community foundations can even connect you with organizations around the country and the globe in response to natural disasters or tragedies. Once you invest in a donor-advised fund, that money is yours to grant to any 501(c)(3) organization.

Community foundations also allow families to create a culture of charitable giving. Many families create funds for their children and grandchildren, allowing them to practice regular giving. When the children are older, they can access their fund and support organizations close to their heart. Partnering with a community foundation is an amazing way to cultivate a heart of giving in your children.

As mentioned earlier, community foundations allow your charitable donations to grow tax-free. While your local community foundation can’t provide tax advice, they can work with your personal accountant or tax manager to create a donation strategy that works best for your family’s financial circumstance. Once your money is invested in a donor-advised fund, it can start to grow.

Christian Community Foundation is proud to be an organization that sponsors giving in Memphis. It’s our goal to power giving, and our greatest joy is granting funds to organizations in and around Memphis that are making a tangible impact on people in our community. When you choose to donate through Christian Community Foundation, you’re investing in Memphis and the nearly 1 million people who call this city home. And we believe that’s a valiant cause.

If you want to start your charitable-giving journey, give us a call. We can help you get started.