FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
What is the Western Colorado Community Foundation (WCCF)?
WCCF is a collection of individual funds and resources given by local citizens to enhance and support the quality of life in their community. A community foundation is a tax-exempt public charity that allows many individuals, through gifts and bequests to establish permanent endowment funds within the umbrella of one large foundation. The income from these separate funds, and the principal if the donor desires, can help a community respond to emerging problems and opportunities, as well as to prepare for its future.
What does a community foundation do?
The foundation professionally manages and distributes income from charitable gifts and bequests in a manner consistent with the donor’s specific and general interests. Community foundations also make grants to qualified nonprofit organizations which benefit our residents. Finally, WCCF provides philanthropic leadership and helps create and promote efforts among citizens to improve the quality of life in communities in Western Colorado.
What “community does WCCF cover?
Generally, WCCF serves the communities west of the Continental Divide in western Colorado, with a special focus on Mesa, Garfield, Eagle, Delta, Montrose, Gunnison and Ouray counties.
Who governs WCCF?
A governing board of trustees, comprised of individuals who are representative of the counties we serve and bring experience and expertise in finance and investment, marketing, nonprofit management and general community leadership.
An endowment is a fund created to provide a permanent source of support to be used for charitable purposes. The principal of the fund is never spent. The total earnings from the principal are interest, dividends and market gains/losses. Distributed earnings are that portion of total earnings that are granted to one
or more charitable organizations or activities. It is not a reserve fund or a “rainy day account.”
Why establish an endowment in the WCCF instead of giving directly to a favorite charity?
The fund is owned by the community foundation, designated to benefit the favorite charity, so fiduciary responsibility rests with the WCCF and the nonprofit only has to account for the distributed earnings, and can better focus efforts on its mission. Since endowments are invested in one portfolio, the WCCF can better afford professional investment management and greater diversification than might be available to smaller investors. Should a favorite charity cease to exist, the WCCF re-designates the fund's distributable earnings to the next best use, according to the donor's intent, while ensuring that the principal of the fund remains intact.
What is the difference between the WCCF and the United Way?
Both the United Way and the community foundation are important resources for the community. Some have described the differences by suggesting that the United Way is the community's "checking account,” obtaining monthly or annual contributions primarily through the workplace to benefit human services organizations and distributing those funds on an annual basis.
The WCCF is more like a community's "savings account,” distributing interest from long-term funds in perpetuity. The community foundation funds a broader variety of charitable organizations, not just health and human services. WCCF holds an endowment for the United Way of Mesa County.
Is this a national or a regional organization?
WCCF is completely autonomous and decisions are made by our board of trustees in western Colorado. There are over 650 community foundations around the country, and they represent one of the fastest growing instruments of planned giving in the United States today. WCCF is a member of the Council of Foundations, a national professional association, and adheres to national standards established for our field. The first community foundation began in Cleveland in 1914; WCCF was incorporated in 1996.
Why be a donor?
WCCF donors are people with a strong sense of community and personal commitment to making a significant contribution to the communities in which they live. Some donors tell us that the resources we bring to reviewing the programs and organizations we fund is an important feature for them. They want to support worthwhile causes in their communities, and WCCF can help them find the best ways to commit their funds. Other donors appreciated the speed, flexibility and ease of using WCCF. Because the legal apparatus and tax reporting systems are already in place, existing forms are available so that a fund literally can be established overnight and the tax advantages obtained in a very short time. Donors also appreciate the opportunities for long-term giving, providing opportunities to improve the quality of life in Western Colorado communities, now and in the future.
I always thought foundations were for rich people. Is the WCCF set up to serve only the wealthy?
Emphatically NO. Anyone can make a contribution in any amount to an existing WCCF fund. Also, a separate named endowment fund can be established with a minimum of $5,000. Community foundations nationwide offer individuals of modest means a cost-efficient vehicle for making gifts outright or by will or trust.
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