Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions by our donors and recipients.


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Is there a minimum of maximum size for a fund?

The minimum dollar amount for a named fund is $5000. There is no maximum. Contributions can be made to existing funds in any amount. We have received contributions ranging from 25 cents to $1 million.

Why do people establish funds at the Greater Milan Area Community Foundation?

There are as many reasons as there are people. Most people, however, want to leave a legacy to their community. You can select the charity or charities you want to support, and your fund will go on giving to those charities … forever!

Can I be informed of the investments?

Yes. Upon request, names of investment managers, fees charged, members of the Finance Committee who is responsible for investment and oversight will be made available.

Can I have my money manager handle the fund I establish?

No. For the same reason that you cannot tell us where to invest the funds you contribute to us.

Can I choose how the funds I contribute are invested?

No. When you give us money, in tax language you make a completed gift over which you can no longer exert control. That way you receive the maximum tax deduction allowable. If you establish a donor-advised fund, we are very interested in what your grant program will be so that we can tailor our investment to best suit that program.

Can I suggest grants to organizations outside of the Greater Milan Area?

Yes, but the mission of the Community Foundation of Monroe County is primarily within Milan and the surrounding area.

Can you send me the grant check to give to the charity?

No, but if you want to make the presentation personally, we can prepare a certificate for you to give to the charity.

Are there restrictions on the grant suggestions I can make?

Grant suggestions must conform to the broad charitable guidelines of the Community Foundation. We can accommodate most grant suggestions. By law, you cannot suggest a grant to fulfill a charitable pledge, pay for a membership, buy a ticket to a charitable event or anything for which you receive a personal benefit.

Can I participate in the giving of grants?

Yes, if you establish a donor-advised fund.

Is the fund I establish permanent?

Yes, unless the governing instrument (fund agreement) allows for invasion of principle. The purpose of the Community Foundation is to build permanent endowments for the Greater Milan Area.

What are the costs involved?

There is a $100 origination fee to establish a fund. A modest annual administration fee is charged to each endowed fund, presently ranging between 1 and 2%, depending on the amount of administration required. Scholarship funds are 2%.

If I set up a fund to support charities, what types of charities can I contribute to?

In most cases, charities must be classified by the Internal Revenue Service as 501 (c) (3).

If I establish a donor-advised fund, what happens after my death?

After a donor’s death, the fund can continue to be advised by individuals named by the fund’s founder (the person who signed the fund agreement). If no succeeding advisor is named, after the donor’s death the Board of Trustees will distribute grants according to the terms established in the fund agreement.

Can other people contribute to a fund I establish?

Yes, but we are not set up to help donors with fundraising, including charity events and mail solicitations.

Can I pay for a needy person’s college tuition?

No. You cannot support a particular needy person with a charitable contribution. You may, however, set up a scholarship fund for a group of people (the senior class, for example) with certain criteria (grade point average or financial need). Scholarship grants are almost always paid to the educational institution for tuition, fees or books.

What kind of assets can I contribute?

Almost any asset can be used to start a fund. We have set up funds with cash, securities traded on major exchanges, mutual fund shares and closely held stock. You can also name the Community Foundation of Monroe County in your will.