Q: What is a Community Foundation?

A: A community foundation is a public charity that builds and manages permanent community endowment funds to provide grants to local nonprofit organizations and projects. The Gorge Community Foundation is one of over six hundred such foundations in the United States.

A community foundation offers an inexpensive, value-added way to establish a named family foundation.

Q: What is an endowment fund?

A: An endowment fund is one which makes grants to charities with a portion of the interest on the fund’s principal. It is a permanent and growing fund which enables long-term support of charitable organizations.

Q: How are we different from United Way?

A: Both United Way and the Gorge Community Foundation are important resources to the community and complement each other. United Way might be looked on as a checking account which helps fund current operations in certain organizations, while the Gorge Community Foundation is more like a savings account which builds long-term funds to protect the future of those organizations. An additional difference is the Gorge Community Foundation’s scope of funding is broader, including all qualified nonprofit organizations in the region.

Q: What is the difference between a private, family foundation and a community foundation?

A: Many people don’t realize that a community foundation offers an easier alternative to establishing a private family foundation. Setting up a fund has an extremely short turn-around time, as little as one day. The foundation handles screening for grants, and all reporting requirements. Donors may choose to leave their funds dormant in a given year, as the foundation does not have the payout requirements of a family foundation. Finally, a community foundation enjoys all the tax advantages of a public charity with the lasting quality of a private foundation.

Q: I always thought foundations were for wealthy people. Why should I think about giving a modest amount through the Gorge Community Foundation?

A: Community foundations offer a variety of options for making donations. By combining your resources with those of others who share your interests, you can maximize the impact of modest contribution with minimal adminstrative costs.