Ideas, resources and answers for charitable people

Answers to your community foundation questions

How is Hampton Roads Community Foundation different from a commercial gift fund?

We are based in Hampton Roads and specialize in connecting donors with causes right here in southeastern Virginia. We have a staff of experts who know about our region's opportunities and challenges and how your philanthropy can make a difference. We offer numerous charitable options for giving now and in the future to create a lasting charitable legacy that will grow over time and do good forever.

Who are your donors?

People who establish funds at our community foundation are generous people from all walks of life. They are doctors and nurses, principals and teachers, CEOs and retired telephone operators and car salesmen. They either create the funds during their lifetimes or through their wills or trusts to become permanent legacies activated after their deaths.

Most important, though, our donors are passionate about a cause, an organization or  the place they call home. Like you they care deeply about causes  that range from solving the crisis of homelessness to guaranteeing vibrant arts. We have fundholders who want to ensure their places of worship will thrive forever and others who focus on animal shelters, the environment, education or libraries. And others are grateful for the lives they've led in Hampton Roads and start a fund to help others enjoy better lives.

Meet our fundholders. 

Which assets can I use to create a fund or add to an existing fund?

Cash, securities, collectibles, real estate, retirement accounts, insurance policies and interests in privately held corporations and limited partnerships. All these are possible assets to donate.

What if I cannot afford to start a fund right now?

You can arrange for a future bequest through your will, IRA or other retirement account, life insurance policy or trust. Or, select a charitable gift annuity, charitable remainder trust or arrangements that will provide you income and current tax deductions and then benefit our community later.

How are investments managed?

We invest donations to grow over time while doing good now. Spider Management Company LLC of Richmond is our investment manager with our board setting investment policy and monitoring it with help from our investment committee. See Financials

How much is needed to start a named fund?

A minimum of $25,000 is needed to start a named fund, but you can donate any amount to an existing fund, including our family of Community Funds.

How are grants made from funds?

Grants are based on our spending policy – currently 4.5% of an average of 12 trailing quarters -- and depend on the type of fund. For a donor-advised fund, advisors recommend grants to specific nonprofits. Field-of-interest and unrestricted funds support an array of grantmaking while designated and scholarship funds go to nonprofit causes or the type  of scholarship recipient you identified when setting up your fund. Examples of recent grants

How are scholarships awarded?

They are awarded annually through a competitive process to students who meet the criteria you establish. Most scholarships are renewable for up to four years of college study. Applications are available online each year from December 1 through March 1 of the following year. See Scholarships

Why create a donor-advised fund instead of a private foundation?

Donor-advised funds let you have the fun of recommending grants to nonprofits without the hassle of running your own foundation since our staff will handle all tax returns, investments, due diligence and grant payments. See Comparing Donor-Advised Funds to Private Foundations

Can my family stay involved in my fund?

Yes. With donor-advised funds you and your successor advisors remain active in recommending grants to specific nonprofits.

Can I keep my donations anonymous?

Absolutely. We also can award grants from your fund without revealing they came from you.

Philanthropy resources

About foundations

Council on Foundations is the professional association of community, corporate, family and private foundations around the world. It promotes national standards for community foundations. The Hampton Roads Community Foundation is accredited through the council .

Foundation Center maintains the most extensive database (other than the IRS) of information about all kinds of foundations.

News and statistics

The Chronicle of Philanthropy covers philanthropic issues on a biweekly basis and has both a print newspaper and website.

GOOD Magazine creates dialogue around things that matter -- like philanthropy.

National Center for Charitable Statistics is the a repository of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States. A component of the Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy, it works closely with government agencies, the private sector and universities to report on activities of charitable organizations.

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy works to make philanthropy responsive as part of a just and democratic society.

NonProfit Times Online features major news and information on the nonprofit sector.

Philanthropy Matters enewsletter produced by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Philanthropy.org maintains a database of publications, digital texts and websites and research on multicultural philanthropy. It is produced by the City University of New York.

Philanthropy, a publication of The Philanthropy Roundtable is an online publication that makes you want to sit in on Roundtable meetings, which happen across the country.

Giving wisely and involving your family

21/64 Next Generation provides tips for shifting to a multi-generational approach to philanthropy that focuses on values while helping younger family members find their charitable identities.

American Institute of Philanthropy is a nonprofit charity watchdog and information service. This website provides donors with a limited directory to nationwide charitable organizations and has basic information on giving carefully.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance formed in 2001 with the merger of the National Charities Information Bureau and the Council of Better Business Bureaus Foundation and its Philanthropic Advisory Service.

Charity Navigator provides insight into nonprofits and has a ranking system that focuses on how effective they are at using the donations entrusted to them. Our community foundation has a four-star rating.

Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy conducts research and training related to philanthropy, particularly among families.

GuideStar is the ultimate data source about nonprofits. Register for free access to organizations' Form 990, the tax form nonprofits must file if they have revenue over $25,000. You can purchase access to more information.

The Inheritance Project explores the emotional and social impact of inherited wealth, an unprecedented $10 trillion of which is expected to pass between generations in the next 20 years.

National Center for Family Philanthropy has an impressive range of publications for generous families.

Keep up-to-date with the wonderful world of  philanthropy. Sign up for HRCF news!