Donor Advised Funds


A Donor Advised Fund allows the donor to have ongoing involvement in the use of gifts. Donors share insights and make recommendations regarding potential grant recipients. The donor’s suggestions must be reviewed and approved by the Community Foundation Board.  A Donor Advised Fund acts much like a private foundation, however, it is easier to establish, less expensive to operate and less restrictive in distributions, payouts and investments. For a list of Donor Advised Funds please view our Annual Reports.

Donor Advised Fund — A Perfect Fit for Bill & Barbara Ross

Bill and Barbara Ross utilize the Lenawee Community Foundation to honor the memory of their daughter, Brenda.  Brenda, who was developmentally disabled, lived at home until age 21.  When medical challenges caused her move to a group home, her parents’ apprehension was lessened when Brenda prospered.  “She loved the people there,” said Barbara, “and we saw the love these people generated.”

After 15 years at a group home, pneumonia took Brenda’s life.  Bill and Barbara were so appreciative of the persons who had cared for their daughter, they wanted to give something back.  They considered establishing a foundation in Brenda’s memory, but were wary of all the administrative work to establish and maintain it.  And, they wondered what would happen when they were no longer able to run it.

Bill and Barbara’s accountant offered an option – a fund in the Lenawee Community Foundation.  In 2005 Bill and Barbara established The Brenda Ross Fund. They were pleased that the Lenawee Community Foundation would handle all the administrative details, assure that the fund could last forever to memorialize Brenda, and best of all, they could focus their time and energy fulfilling their dream.

After exploring many options for supporting and recognizing direct care staff, whose jobs rarely offer thanks or financial rewards, Bill and Barbara have purchased training videos, underwritten continuing education, and sponsored three annual workshops in partnership with the Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority, Wayne State University Developmental Disabilities Institute, and local corporations that operate Lenawee’s group homes. The most recent workshop was held in September.

Bill and Barbara Ross are making a difference, honoring Brenda and fulfilling their new life mission.  The Lenawee Community Foundation is excited that we are the vehicle that Bill and Barbara have chosen to help fulfill their charitable wishes for our community.

A Donor Advised Fund is a convenient, flexible tool for individuals, families, businesses, and groups who want to fulfill their charitable wishes and be personally involved in the grant-making process.  

A Donor Advised Fund — Like Your Own Private Foundation

A Donor Advised Fund acts much like a private foundation, but is easier to establish, less expensive to operate, and less restrictive in distributions, payouts, and investments.  This is how a donor advised fund works:

  • You make a gift to the Lenawee Community Foundation.  The gift can be cash, appreciated stock, real estate, or other assets.
  • The Lenawee Community Foundation establishes a fund in the name of your family or business, or in honor of any person or organization you choose.
  • You receive tax benefits in the year your initial gift is made, and for any future gifts.  In addition to federal tax deductions, Michigan offers tax credits for individuals, businesses, and resident estates or trusts that contribute to permanent funds.
  • After the fund is established, you can recommend current or future grants.  Foundation staff will assist you in supporting the causes and organizations about which you care the most.
  • Your recommendations are presented to the Community Foundation Board of Directors for approval.
  • The Lenawee Community Foundation handles all the administrative details, and issues grants to charities in the name of your fund, or if you prefer, grants can be made anonymously.
  • Gifts can be utilized on a short-term basis or permanently invested to benefit our Lenawee County community.