What happens if the organization I’ve named to benefit from a charitable fund ceases to exist someday? 
Community Foundations have an ability called ‘variance power,’ which enables them to adjust a charitable fund whose purpose has become impossible to carry out or inconsistent with the needs of the community.  If you’ve named an organization today that dissolves in the future, the Community Foundation board of trustees is responsible for helping the fund award grants to support an organization or cause closely related to your original intent.  We encourage donors to name a successor organization or cause when creating a charitable fund that gives guidance regarding a future granting option.

Can I establish a charitable fund that benefits a local family whose home was destroyed by fire?
No, we cannot establish a fund that is created solely for the benefit of a specific person or family.  We can establish a fund that benefits any individual or family within a broad geographic area who has a specific illness or need, so long as there are or could be a reasonable number of people who could qualify for assistance.  Even better:  consider a fund to support a charitable organization that helps people with such an illness or need.

Is there a way to experiment with granting?  I’m not ready to create a permanent charitable fund until I understand more about my options.
Yes! A Gift Account is a short-term donor advised fund that gives you flexibility in organizations or causes you might like to support.  Gift Accounts have no fund minimum and no grant minimum.  The principal (gift) balance can be granted until the sum is depleted.  There are no fees, instead we retain any earnings on the balance.  It’s a great way to test the waters.  The only type of granting a Gift Account cannot do is a scholarship or any grant that benefits a specific individual.  Learn more about Gift Accounts.

Can I create one charitable fund that serves various causes or types of granting or must I establish separate charitable funds for each type?
One charitable fund may do a variety of granting, except that laws prohibit donor advised granting and scholarship granting from residing in the same fund.  You may establish one fund that gives to named organizations and provides grant dollars that are awarded to organizations through a competitive process.  A fund may also contain a ‘Plan B’ to guide future granting should your originally designated cause or organizations cease to exist.  If a donor wishes, separate funds may be created to serve diverse granting purposes, so long as each charitable fund balance meets the Community Foundation’s fund minimum.

Must charitable funds benefit Shelby County?
No, we administer charitable funds that benefit causes and organizations across the U.S.  As a community foundation, we are well-versed in our region and its charitable organizations, enabling us uniquely serve charitable giving here.  However, we are not restricted from working with donors or organizations in other regions.