FAQs

Please note that you will find both Hampton Roads Community Foundation and national information at Advisor Resources.

Why do I want to work with Hampton Roads Community Foundation?

We think we can help you do what you do best: serve your clients.

Our mission is to encourage charitable giving and philanthropy in Hampton Roads. Thanks to our focus on charitable giving and the region's nonprofit sector, we can offer you specialized resources, information and solutions – that may be useful for your clients. We can be public, e.g. attend meetings with you and your client. Or we can be your "silent partner", providing the details you need behind the scenes.

There's no expense to you or your client. Our services are free to both you and your client. If he or she establishes a fund, we assess a minor fee from it every year, but only after the donor has received the full charitable gift deduction permitted.

Similarly, we are in no hurry to "close the deal"; some arrangements may take decades, and that's fine with us.

Read more why we want to work with you.


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

In at least five ways:

  1. Hampton Roads Community Foundation is a nonprofit based in and dedicated to serving southeastern Virginia. Most commercial gift funds (Schwab, Fidelity and Vanguard manage the largest) are not community-oriented themselves.
  2. Commercial gift funds traditionally offer donor-advised funds only. The Hampton Roads Community Foundation offers six choices of funds: donor-advised, scholarship, designated, unrestricted, field of interest, and agency endowment.
  3. A charitable person can establish an endowment at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. The fund will make gifts in the fundholder's name, and for the purpose he or she designates, forever. Most commercial gift funds limit grantmaking to the donor's lifetime.
  4. The community foundation welcomes bequests and other charitable gift instruments. In other words, someone can start a fund upon his or her death, as part of estate planning. Most commercial gift plans are not set up to manage those types of gifts nor endowments.
  5. Hampton Roads Community Foundation provides local connectivity and recognition. For the people who wish it, the community foundation convenes discussions, tours, site visits, and lectures. We distribute annual reports, newsletters, and alerts on all things philanthropic and community-based. We acknowledge and honor past, present and new fundholders. We are always available for meetings here or at your office. Most commercial gift funds do not – can not – provide any of those services locally.

Who creates funds at the community foundation?

Generous people from all over Hampton Roads: nurses, teachers, physicians, business leaders, telephone operators, car salesmen and others. Take a look at our list of funds to see the broad cross section of people who have established funds here. Each annual report also lists donors who made gifts to existing funds, initiatives or the community foundation itself.

Wealth is not an indicator for who gives. The minimum amount to start a fund is $25,000. Many families established memorial funds with donations from others. Others created a fund through their estates, for when they no longer need the assets.

 

How much does it cost to start a named fund?

Your client can create a permanent, named gift fund with a tax-deductible contribution of $25,000 or more. A "named" fund means he or she can do just that: name the fund, after family members, after a cause, after a nonprofit, etc. The $25,000 minimum also allows your client to choose the type of fund and its purpose.

If your client prefers not to create a fund, he or she has many other choices for creative giving within the community foundation, as outlined in New Ideas for Giving

Which assets can my client donate to create or add to a fund?

As a 501(c)(3), Hampton Roads Community Foundation can accept nearly any gift that a nonprofit can, plus more: cash, securities, real estate, retirement accounts, insurance policies and interests in privately-held corporations and limited partnerships. Even less common items, such as stamp collections, can be donated, assessed and sold to establish a fund.

What if my client cannot afford to start a fund right now?

Your client has lots of options, even if he or she can't start a fund right now.

First, visit New Ideas for Giving. The page offers a dozen or more ideas for making smaller donations that matter. Your client can give to one of our community funds, for example. Or to an existing fund that matches your client's interests.

Second, your client can consider different charitable giving instruments, such as charitable gift annuities. Some provide income during your client's lifetime and create a fund when he or she passes.

Third, in the same vein, the community foundation can work with you and your client on any necessary estate planning, e.g. providing the best language for a will, arranging for transfer of an IRA, insurance policy or other asset.

Whichever your client's choice, we think over the long term, too. We don't charge for the conversations, even if they last for years.

How does the community foundation manage its assets?

Hampton Roads Community Foundation uses outside managers to handle our investments. We utilize a diversified portfolio model that balances the need for grantmaking dollars today with the requirement for future permanent endowment dollars. Our investment committee reviews performance and management. See Financials

How do you determine the amount you allow for grants?

The community foundation – and most of the nation's universities and foundations – utilize a "spending policy". Studies have proven that careful spending/grantmaking and diversified investment will provide steady grants through bad times and inflation.

Hampton Roads Community Foundation bases all its grants on 4.5% of an average of the 12 previous quarters of each fund's assets. 

Assume, for example, that a designated fund for your client's church has been in place for three years (12 quarters), and it has averaged $100,000 in value. The church would receive a $4,500 grant. If the church fund's investment returns were greater than 4.5%, they would be "returned" to the fund, in reserve for a "rainy day" when investment returns were below 4.5%. As a result, the church could depend on somewhat predictably-sized grants, even during bear markets. The fundholder could depend on the promise that the church would receive grants for as long as it was in existence, in his or her name.

Non-endowed donor-advised funds, when the donor doesn't expect to leave a legacy, need not follow the spending rule. If the donor advisor spends more than 4.5% for many years, the fund will eventually eat away its principal.

Which is better: a donor-advised fund or a private foundation?

There are advantages to both, as you can see from this chart comparing donor-advised funds to private foundations

Most professional advisors seem to agree that you need assets of at least $2-3 million to justify the set-up and maintenance costs of a private foundation. On the other hand, your client can establish a donor-advised fund at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation in a day with minimum paperwork and at no cost. Our staff handles the details of administering your fund, filing tax returns and meeting annual pay-out requirements. Your client recommends grants; we ratify and deliver them.

A private foundation gives the donor control over – and responsibility for – staffing, due diligence, avoiding conflicts of interest, family involvement, choice of grantees, etc.

Can multiple family members be involved in a donor-advised fund?

Absolutely, and not only now, but after the original fundholder is no longer involved. Your client can name specific family members and/or friends as additional donor advisors who may recommend grants from his or her fund. Your client may also name one (and only one) generation to succeed him/her as donor advisors.

How do you choose scholarship awardees?

People in Hampton Roads believe in the power of a good education, and they've created scholarship funds at the community foundation to prove it. As a result, we've become the largest scholarship provider in southeast Virginia. 

Students (and parents) can apply to our very-friendly website. We also work with school guidance counselors and Access College Foundation advisors to help identify students who scholarship assistance. 

Many, if not most, fundholders established specific criteria for their scholarships: high school attended and proposed major, for example. In addition, the community foundation almost always selects recipients on the basis of financial need, academic achievement and initiative. 

We send the scholarship checks directly to the colleges and universities, earmarked for the recipients. Most scholarships are renewable.

What if my client wishes to remain anonymous.

No problem. While the community foundation must know the identity of every donor, for legal reasons, we can ensure anonymity in virtually every other way. He or she can name the fund "Anonymous" or with an unrelated title, e.g. "The Building Fund". Awards from the fund may be accompanied by language like, "This grant made possible by the Anonymous Fund; the donor wishes to remain unknown."

Anonymity can extend to being left off mailing and invitation lists, emails, and requests for meetings.

Can a nonprofit create an endowment at the community foundation?

Yes, indeed. Hampton Roads Community Foundation already manages more than 45 "organizational funds" started by nonprofits to benefit themselves. The forward-looking nonprofit reaps many benefits. 

The nonprofit:

  • establishes an endowment, perhaps its first, that will generate annual income, forever
  • adds its money to a much larger investment pool, which enables greater diversification and investment skill and strategy than it could secure on its own
  • attracts donors who a) prefer endowments to annual giving, or b) respect Hampton Roads Community Foundation as the nonprofit's fiscal agent 
  • eliminates all paperwork and accounting headaches so it can get on with its daily work.