FAQs

How are community foundations different from private foundations?
A community foundation is a publicly supported, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that maintains a diverse grant making program in a specific community or region. Like a private foundation, it makes grants in support of its charitable purpose. Its funds, however, are derived from many unrelated donors rather than a single source, as is usually the case with private foundations. Further, community foundations are classified under the tax code as public charities, subjecting them to different tax policies and regulations than private foundations

Why should my client give through ICF rather than directly to the organization(s) they wish to support?
A charitable fund at ICF allows your clients to be strategic with their giving and gives them an opportunity to use ICF’s deep community knowledge to give to the organizations that will meet their philanthropic goals.

A single large gift can be an administrative burden to an organization and distract from their ability to accomplish their programmatic work. Grants from your client’s charitable giving fund can be distributed over time and the recipient will be able to rely on the funding year after year.

We complete due diligence before we distribute grants. If the community organization(s) ceases to exist or is not in good standing as a qualified nonprofit, we will contact your client. For funds created by estate gifts, we will find a replacement(s) doing similar work in the same community. Your client doesn’t have the same guarantee when they make a large, direct gift to an organization.

How might a Donor Advised Fund benefit my client?
In many instances, a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) at the community foundation can provide your clients with the benefits of a private foundation without the administrative complexities and may increase their philanthropic impact. A DAF offers several advantages - including eligibility for higher tax deductions for new assets contributed to the fund, grantmaking support, professional investment management and the option to give anonymously. Furthermore, a DAF will eliminate several of the burdens and requirements of a private foundation, including the annual distribution requirement, tax returns and audits, and excise taxes.

Your clients can also create a family legacy by establishing a DAF that allows children or grandchildren to remain involved in grantmaking in the family name.

How much control and freedom would my client have in recommending grant recipients from their fund?
Your client can recommend a grant to any qualified organization that falls within the broad mission of ICF and is an Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) public charity qualified under Sections 509(a)(1), 509(a)(2), in some cases 509(a)(3), or an educational or governmental entity. ICF will ensure that groups recommended for a grant meet this requirement.

In complying with federal tax laws, and for the protection of your client, ICF must reject grant recommendations that would benefit an individual, fulfill a personal obligation, support a political campaign, go to a private foundation, or is not for a qualified charitable organization.

Can my client recommend grants anonymously?
Yes, your client may request that a fund name and/or the donor’s name remain anonymous. In addition, clients may request the fund name not appear in ICF’s annual reports or other relevant publications.

What happens to the fund after my client’s lifetime?
ICF will continue to follow the instructions listed in the fund agreement.

We complete due diligence before we distribute grants. If the community organization(s) ceases to exist or is not in good standing as a qualified nonprofit, we will find a replacement(s) doing similar work in the same community. If the cause your client selects no longer has a need for funding,
your client’s fund will support the greatest needs in the community, as decided by people who live there.

For Donor Advised Funds, your client may name successor advisors to make grant recommendations and continue their family’s legacy of giving. Typically, after two generations of advisors the fund will revert to another type of fund based on the instructions your client provided at the time the fund was established.

Can my client serve on the board of an organization and recommend a grant from his/her fund to the organization?
Yes, as long as your client receives no personal benefit from the grant.

Can my client recommend grants to qualified organizations outside Idaho?
Yes. While ICF funds are established to “primarily benefit” Idaho, we understand donors may have close ties with other communities throughout the country. Donors may recommend grants to qualified public charities throughout the country as long as most of their grants are given to Idaho organizations.