It's simple: You make grant recommendations to charities of your choice; we vet the nonprofits, write the checks, and handle the reporting.
A donor-advised fund offers many advantages. It gives you:
The services of a professional grantmaking, financial, and investment staff of a $2 billion institution;
An immediate tax deduction without having to make quick decisions about which charities you want to support;
The maximum deduction allowed by law;
The opportunity to build an endowment over time;
While the recommendations can't be binding (under Internal Revenue Service rules, our board—and the boards of similar organizations—has the final say), we take the suggestions very seriously.
Our board has established broad guidelines for suggestion approval, assuring rapid processing of each grant, which bears the name of your fund.
If you have a particular area of charitable interest, you may want to consider a field-of-interest fund.
First: You Choose the Area
Such as troubled youth—or choose a more specific focus, such as drug abuse or prevention of teen pregnancy. You might create a fund to benefit the arts, or, as one donor did, further narrow the purpose to support training for talented, disadvantaged young artists.
Second: We Go to Work
Researching nonprofits and preparing a grant spending plan for your fund. Our board checks proposed grants against your fund's purpose and any other guidelines you've given us. After we make each grant (with a voucher bearing the fund's name), we carefully monitor the results.
The advantage of a field-of-interest fund is that it keeps up with the times. The arts will always depend on private philanthropy, and we'll always have to be concerned about our young people. But today's youth problems weren't around 40 years ago, and neither were the many exciting young arts groups that have sprung up all over the County. Rather than locking your charitable contribution into a few specific charities, a field-of-interest fund will always be able to meet contemporary needs.
Predicting the Future is a Risky Business.
If you want your philanthropy to continue after your lifetime, you need to know that it will meet the unimagined needs of generations to come.
An Unrestricted Fund is Your Insurance That Your Generosity Will Remain Relevant.
Future Trust boards and staff—who have a tradition of excellence to stand on—will make grants in your name in perpetuity that deal effectively with contemporary problems.
You Can Set Up an Unrestricted Fund Now.
If you want to give back to the region, but don't have the time to research the thousands of nonprofits that work here, our grantmaking staff is happy to do the legwork for you. We know the many needs in the region, and we know where private money can make a real difference. After our board approves grants, we'll let you know where they went.
If you are firmly committed to supporting specific charities, you should consider making your gifts directly to those charities. But a designated fund may be preferable for some donors. You name the charity or charities you'd like to benefit; we take care of the investments, and regularly pay grants to the charities you've named.
If the charity goes out of business, changes its mission, or should a future board determine that circumstances have changed so as to "render unnecessary, undesirable, impractical, or impossible continued support," we'll redirect funds to other charities without losing time or depleting the fund with expensive court proceedings. This authority of our board, called the variance power, is an attractive feature to donors who have established funds in perpetuity and donors who have set up funds for narrow purposes but understand that the future is unpredictable. A committee of our board will carefully review the facts before recommending any change to the full board.
Disclaimer: From time to time our donors request support of family or friends for their fund. While we appreciate the generosity of our donors, the Westchester Community Foundation and The New York Community Trust are not responsible for statements or representations by other persons or for the contents of other websites that solicit support for a fund.