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What is a Community Foundation?
“Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families, and business to support effective nonprofits in their communities.”
The first community foundation began in 1914 in Cleveland, OH. Today, there are more than 750 community foundations in the United States; 500 are accredited by the National Council on Foundations. According to the Fiscal Year 2015 Columbus Survey Results, the largest community foundation in the U.S. is Silicon Valley Community Foundation with an asset size of $7.3 billion.
What is The Alaska Community Foundation (ACF)?
The Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) began in 1995 for the benefit of all Alaskans. As of early 2020, ACF manages assets over $140 million from over 1,000 funds. See ACF Annual Reports. The 1,000 funds are comprised of several different types:
- Affiliate funds (GHCF is an Affiliate of ACF and there are 11 different Alaska communities that are Affiliates)
- Agency funds (funds setup to support a specific nonprofit or charitable organization)
- Field of Interest funds (funds that focus on a specific field of interest)
- Donor Advised funds (funds setup so the donor or fund advisor recommends all grants from the fund)
- Donor Designated funds (designated funds setup to support a specific nonprofit(s) or charitable cause over the long-term)
- Scholarship funds (funds that support individuals seeking educational opportunities and advancements)
When were GHCF funds established?
- Grantmaking Endowment Fund: In 2013, the Interior had the opportunity to become an Affiliate of ACF and qualify for the Rasmuson Foundation 2:1 match for 2013 and 2014, and GHCF raised $25,000 and received $50,000 in each of those years for the grantmaking endowment fund. Since that time, there have been other generous matches from ACF and Rasmuson Foundation.
“It is like a Permanent Fund for Fairbanks, focused on this amazing community that so many have come to call home. The dividends will help organizations that will be well known by your grandchildren.” ~ Mike and Peggy Pollen (Founding Donor)
- Operating Endowment: In 2017, ACF and Rasmuson Foundation provided GHCF with the opportunity to have a second endowed fund for operating costs. Rasmuson Foundation offered a 1:1 match over four years totaling $60,000. GHCF fully met the match and was offered another 1:1 match of $25,000, which was met at the end of 2019. It is the hope of GHCF to one day be self-sustaining. If you would like more information about GHCF’s operating costs, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the difference between an endowed and non-endowed fund?
- Endowment funds are permanent funds in which the principal is preserved and invested, with a portion of the earnings distributed annually for charitable purposes. If a donor gives to the GHCF endowed funds, 100% of the gift goes into the fund to support our community in perpetuity. Part of the earnings cover modest administration and investment fees.
- Non-endowed funds are not held in perpetuity and can be fully spent out in a shorter time period, but still provide charitable resources for our community.
What does ACF do for GHCF?
As an Affiliate, ACF does the following for GHCF:
- ACF is a 501(c)(3) with EIN# 92-0155067 and covers GHCF with their charitable status.
- Manages the investments, manages all donations and expenses, and holds all financial responsibility and liability.
- Oversees and administers all grant awards, and confirms eligibility for nonprofit organizations.
- Prepares annual IRS tax returns.
- Performs an annual audit to comply with best practices and national standards.
- Is accredited by the Council on Foundations and complies with US Community Foundation national standards.
- Prepares and distributes donor tax receipt letters.
- Maintains GHCF’s website and provides other professional software.
- Provides program management, grants management, donor development, and other professional services to GHCF through its full-time Anchorage staff.
- Provides for a local, part-time Program Manager (based in Fairbanks) to support GHCF.
- And, ACF and Rasmuson Foundation continue to offer generous match incentives to grow philanthropy in the Fairbanks area.
“I want to support this community and like to see my donations matched by the Rasmuson Foundation”
~ Arva Chiu (Founding Donor)
What does ACF charge GHCF for the above services?
For the above services, GHCF pays ACF an administration fee of 0.75%. GHCF also pays an investment fee. If you are interested in viewing the annual financial recap of GHCF, please email us at email@example.com.
If ACF does so much, what does GHCF do?
- Golden Heart Community Foundation has an Advisory Board (AB) made up of Fairbanks area residents. The AB promotes the growth of the GHCF fund through outreach and education to the public.
- The AB oversees the evaluation of grant applications from local nonprofits. GHCF then makes grant recommendation to ACF and decisions are made locally. ACF confirms the nonprofit is in good standing and then issues the grant awards.
- The AB is all volunteer and made up of individuals with a diverse range of backgrounds, reflecting and representing our community.
Why Donate to GHCF?
- Because it is an endowment, it will continue to grow into the future, providing charitable assets for our community in perpetuity.
- Because 100% of your donation goes into the endowed fund. Fees are not withheld from your donation; they are taken out of earnings.
- Because earnings can be granted to any legally qualified nonprofit in the Interior, meaning the charitable dollars stay in our community.
- Because the GHCF endowment is labeled “unrestricted”, the earnings are not limited to one cause or area of interest. As the needs of the community change over time, the grants can be adjusted accordingly.
- Because the service fees on each fund are very reasonable and minimal. See Fee Chart.
- Because “You don’t have to be a tycoon” to make a difference. GHCF is a combination of many donors so it can grow to a much larger charitable fund to make a bigger impact into the future.
When I donate to GHCF, why is ACF involved?
ACF handles all finance duties for GHCF. Donations are processed by ACF and they handle all tax receipts. Additionally, ACF prudently invests GHCF fund assets. These are pooled together with all other ACF funds so as to get the highest returns. GHCF is covered under ACF’s EIN, meaning that the two entities are one charitable organization.
Donors can give through GHCF’s secure online platform or send checks to GHCF’s address (PO Box 73183, Fairbanks, AK 99707). Donors can also send checks directly to ACF’s address (3201 C Street, Suite 110, Anchorage, AK 99503) for processing. Please note on the check (or your online donation) which GHCF fund you’d like to donate to, either the Golden Heart Community Foundation Fund (grantmaking fund) or the Golden Heart Operating Endowment Fund (for operational sustainability).