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Donor Advised Funds

Philanthropy is personal. Connect your passion to a community need that will improve the quality of life in our region by opening your charitable donor advised fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville.

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3 Steps: How it Works

Contribute assets such as cash, stock, or complex assets to your charitable fund, and take an immediate tax deduction in the same calendar year.

You may be able to attain a new level of giving you never considered possible through assets you already own. You can use our expertise to quickly and easily donate hard-to-value assets to donor advised funds under the oversight of our Investment Committee. We specialize in accepting donations of complex assets, including:

  • Charitable gifts of real estate
  • Personal residence
  • Commercial property
  • Other real property
  • Charitable gifts of privately-held business interests
  • C-Corp stock
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) interests
  • Limited Partnership interests
  • Other alternative asset gifts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement plans
  • Negotiable instruments
  • Private equity

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive of acceptable alternative assets. Gift acceptance is dependent upon asset review and approval.

The Community Foundation is a public charity, so you will receive the maximum tax deduction allowed by law for your donation. You can also avoid capital gains tax, and you may be eligible to receive a lifetime income stream. We look at each donation individually and create charitable giving plans that maximize gifts to the community and provide bottom-line benefits to you.

We do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This is for informational purposes only.

We invest funds into portfolios that aim to maximize your return and strengthen your impact over time.

At any time, grant your funds to nonprofit organizations focused on initiatives that mean the most to you.

  • How does the grant approval process work?

With your donor advised fund, grants may be made to 501(c)(3) public charity organizations in the United States that are in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service, including governmental, education, and religious institutions. Rest assured that the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville will exercise due diligence to make sure grants from your fund are given to organizations that have met 501(c)(3) IRS requirements.

In some cases, the Community Foundation may need to contact you and/or the suggested grant recipient for additional information before approving the grant. Following these grant guidelines will help expedite the Community Foundation’s approval process.

When making your grants, you may see the terms grant suggestion, grant recommendation, and grant request. This is because the Community Foundation legally owns the assets in your fund, and any grant suggestions are subject to review and approval by the Community Foundation. However, the Community Foundation makes every effort to approve all grant suggestions that are made in accordance with IRS regulations.

A more detailed explanation of the Community Foundation’s grant guidelines is included in the Procedures for Establishment and Operation of Funds and Affiliated Organizations, available below.

  • How long does it take a grant check to reach a recipient?

Grant checks are generally issued within two weeks of receiving the grant recommendation. However, the process may be shorter or longer, depending on the current transaction volume.

  • Can I buy a ticket to a nonprofit event from my fund?

According to the IRS, you must pay the full cost to attend events (both the tax-deductible and non-tax-deductible portions) from your personal bank account; no portion of an event registration may be paid from your donor advised fund. If you choose not to accept any benefits associated with a sponsorship (other than name recognition), the entire amount may be paid from the fund. Logo or name recognition in event materials is permissible. When submitting a grant request for a sponsorship, please note in your grant suggestion that you are not receiving any tickets, tables, or other benefits in exchange for your sponsorship.

  • How do scholarships work?

You may use your fund to support a scholarship program administered by a 501(c)(3) public charity or educational institution, but you may not earmark dollars to assist a specific individual.

  • Can I make a grant from my fund to honor an individual?

You may make a contribution to a 501(c)(3) public charity or religious institution in honor of an individual, as long as the charity exercises complete discretion and control over the donation. The Community Foundation understands that many donations do not provide a direct benefit to an individual but are in recognition of an individual’s fundraising efforts. Therefore, when submitting grants in honor of individuals, please explicitly state that the donations are “in honor of [individual’s name]”; “In honor of John Smith’s Mission Trip”; or “In honor of Jane Smith’s 5k Race Team.”

  • Can I recommend that grants be made anonymously?

Yes, absolutely! You may choose that your name and/or the name of your fund remain anonymous on your grant checks. It is a simple process, so just let us know if you desire anonymity.

  • How current is my fund balance?

We strive to keep the information displayed in your fund balance as current as possible. Typically, fund balances are updated on a monthly basis, with gift and grant transactions updated as they are processed. Fund statements are produced quarterly with an e-mail reminder and instructions to access your account.

  • How often are fund statements produced?

Fund statements are produced quarterly for the preceding quarter. Donors are sent an e-mail reminder and instructions to access your account. Generally, fund statements are available by the 20th day of the month following the end of a quarter.

  • When are investment returns allocated to my fund?

Investment returns are allocated monthly. All allocations are usually completed by the 15th of the following month. At year end, this will typically take a few additional weeks.

  • When will I see my gifts to my fund online?

Gifts are processed as they are received. You will typically see a gift appear online the week after it is received in our office. Some types of gifts, such as real estate or stock transactions, may take longer.

  • What is the best way to make a grant recommendation?

There are a number of ways to make a grant recommendation. Many donors feel the easiest way is through your online donor portal accessed through our website. Of course, you can always e-mail us your signed Grant Suggestion Form to initiate your grant request.

  • What are the fees you charge to manage my fund?

In exchange for the services we provide to you, the Community Foundation charges an annual administrative fee against the balance of your fund. Fees are assessed monthly and represent 1/12 of the annual fee. These fees are used by the Community Foundation to support mission-based operations as your investment in a local 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to improving the quality of life in our community.

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Endowment and Non-Endowment Funds

Are you interested in making a long-term or short-term impact?

Endowment funds ensure you will make an impact in the Greater Huntsville region for generations to come. Grantmaking results from a portion of annual investment earnings, so your principal gift lasts forever. Non-endowment funds are impermanent, so you can immediately grant the entire fund balance.

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Open a Fund Today

Set up a charitable fund that matches your philanthropic goals and personal interests.
Get Started

Support Programs and Initiatives

Donate online to our strategic programs and initiatives created to maximize impact in our region.
Explore Our Funds

Connect with our Giving Team

We make generosity easy, however that looks to you. Our experienced staff understands the technical complexities of charitable giving and helps simplify the process. We are privileged to serve as your philanthropic guide to help you manage your fund(s) and give confidently. Contact us at Giving@CommunityFoundationHSV.org.