Professional Advisors FAQ’s

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Why should I talk to my clients about charitable giving?
How do I know if giving through the Community Foundation is right for my clients?
What are the tax benefits for my clients if they give through the Lenawee Community Foundation?
When does it make sense to suggest a charitable gift?
How can I recommend a nonprofit gift without recommending a specific nonprofit?
How can my client provide support for a favorite charity through the Community Foundation?
How much control and freedom would my client have in recommending gift recipients, including faith-based organizations such as their church through their donor advised fund?
How does a donor advised fund work?
What is the minimum gift required to start a fund?
What type of assets can my client use to start a fund?
Can my client name a successor to the fund?
How do Lenawee Community Foundation’s costs compare with those of commercial gift funds and private foundations?
Can charitable funds established at the Lenawee Community Foundation be used to benefit areas other than Lenawee?
Can I get more information regarding the Lenawee Community Foundation or planned giving?


Why should I talk to my clients about charitable giving?
Some advisors are reluctant to begin a charitable giving conversation with their client, and concerned about making value judgments, especially if the client has not expressed charitable intentions. In reality, identifying your client’s philanthropic interests is a wonderful way to deepen the client’s trust and strengthen your relationship. This is also an opportunity to develop your relationship with future heirs.  To determine your client’s motivation for and knowledge of philanthropic giving, you might start with these questions:

  • What has been the most satisfying charitable gift you have ever made? Why?
  • Have you volunteered anywhere? Which volunteer experience has been the most rewarding?
  • Of your core values, which would you like to express through your giving?
  • When you think of the challenges facing our community, what are your greatest concerns? Are any of these the focus of your current or future giving?
  • What have you learned about your giving? Would you do anything differently if you could?
  • What role has philanthropy played in your family? Is it what you would like it to be… or would you like to change it? Are your children and grandchildren aware of your philanthropy?
  • What would you like to accomplish with your giving? Do you think this is possible?

How do I know if giving through the Community Foundation is right for my clients?
Here are seven questions to consider:

  • Do I have clients who care deeply about their local community?
  • Do my clients give to more than one charitable cause?
  • Are my clients interested in creating a personal or family legacy in their community?
  • Are they considering the creation of a private foundation, but are concerned about cost and administrative complexity?
  • Would they like to stay personally involved in the use of their gift dollars?
  • Do they want to receive maximum tax benefit for their charitable contributions under federal law?
  • Do they place a priority on sound financial management of their contributions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your clients may benefit from knowing more about the Lenawee Community Foundation. We’d be happy to help you make an introduction.

What are the tax benefits for my clients if they give through the Lenawee Community Foundation?
The Lenawee Community Foundation offers the maximum charitable tax advantages available by law. Because of the Community Foundation’s nature, it is not subject to the taxes and regulations affecting private foundations, and it has greater flexibility on matters such as minimum payout.

When does it make sense to suggest a charitable gift?
Philanthropy is a very special decision. As a professional advisor, you can help clients realize their charitable objectives by listening for charitable giving opportunities, explaining options, and suggesting solutions. Significant giving opportunities often arise when clients are making major business, personal, and financial decisions. Our staff can work with you and your client to recommend the best charitable solution.

How can I recommend a nonprofit gift without recommending a specific nonprofit?
Professional advisors are often faced with a delicate dilemma: you want to discuss the many benefits of charitable giving with your clients, but you want to avoid recommending specific charitable causes or organizations.

Fortunately, the Lenawee Community Foundation is a simple solution. A community foundation is a single, trusted vehicle your clients can use to address the issues they care about most, while gaining maximum tax benefit under state and federal law. We offer a variety of giving options – including the ability to set up a charitable fund in your client’s name. It’s just one way we can help you help your clients achieve their charitable goals.

How can my client provide support for a favorite charity through the Community Foundation?
Your client has two great options for supporting their favorite charity–a donor advised fund or a designated fund. A donor advised fund gives individuals, families or businesses the opportunity to participate in grantmaking by recommending nonprofits and programs to receive grants. A Community Foundation donor/advisor can take advantage of information about local needs and opportunities–and even include his/her family or business in recommending grants. It is a simple, personal and highly effective way to give.

A designated fund provides regular, annual funding to one or more specific nonprofit organizations and can be set up to pay out annually or allow the organization to build the fund over time. The Community Foundation handles all of the administration, record keeping, and financial statements for the funds, however investments are pooled to maximize performance, reduce risks, and lower overhead costs.

How much control and freedom would my client have in recommending gift recipients, including faith-based organizations or their church, through a donor advised fund?
Your client can recommend a grant to any organization that is qualified as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which includes most faith-based programs. The Community Foundation will ensure that groups recommended for a grant meet this requirement.

In complying with federal tax laws, and for the protection of your client, the Foundation must reject grant recommendations that would benefit an individual, fulfill a personal obligation, support a political campaign, or benefit a private foundation.

How does a donor advised fund work?
A donor advised fund with the Lenawee Community Foundation will give your client the opportunity to take part in the grantmaking process without the work and expense of operating a private foundation. Your client can establish a donor advised fund with the Community Foundation with a minimum gift of $10,000. Your client will have the opportunity to recommend nonprofits to receive grants, which are then approved by our Board of Directors. The Community Foundation handles the paperwork and administration. This is a great way for your client to involve their family in philanthropy.

What is the minimum gift required to start a fund?
The minimum for establishing a fund with the Lenawee Community Foundation is $10,000. Gifts can be made to existing funds in any amount.

What type of assets can my client use to start a fund?
The Lenawee Community Foundation has the ability to accept a range of assets including:

  • Cash
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Business interests
  • Real estate
  • Personal property
  • Life insurance policies
  • IRA or pension plan assets

Can my client name a successor to the fund?
Yes, your client can name a successor or successors to the fund. If they do not name a successor, or after the successor’s death, the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors will continue to award the funds in accordance with your client’s wishes.

How do Lenawee Community Foundation’s costs compare with those of commercial gift funds and private foundations?
The Community Foundation’s fees are highly competitive with commercial gift funds, but even more importantly, the Community Foundation offers your clients unique value that can come from our staff knowledge of the community and expertise in the philanthropic field.

Establishing a fund at the Lenawee Community Foundation is considerably less expensive than starting a private foundation, since we handle all administrative details, including filing annual tax returns, performing due diligence on grants, and all details associated with processing and tracking grants. There are also no setup fees.

Can charitable funds established at the Lenawee Community Foundation be used to benefit areas other than Lenawee County?
Although our role is to help donors create funds that carry out their charitable goals with a primary focus in Lenawee County, Community Foundation donors may recommend grants to organizations elsewhere.

Can I get more information regarding the Lenawee Community Foundation or planned giving?
To sign up to receive e-news letters from the Foundation for professional advisors contact Suann Hammersmith. Approximately six times per year, timely and pertinent information will be sent to you.

Technical resources on planned giving are available from the Planned Giving Design Center at www.pgdc.net.

If you have any questions or need more information at any time, please do not hesitate to contact Suann Hammersmith.