Lots of people look to us for answers. You can too. Some of the most common questions we receive are answered below. If you don’t see an answer to your question here, feel free to contact us using the “Contact Us” button or phone number on the top right of this page.
- 1. What is a Community Foundation?
- 2. What does a Community Foundation do?
- 3. What “community” do you serve?
- 4. Where do you get the money to make grants?
- 5. Why be a donor?
- 6. Who governs The Community Foundation?
- 7. What do you fund?
- 8. How do I apply for a grant?
- 9. How is The Community Foundation different than the United Way?
- 10. What are the financial benefits and tax advantages of gifting through The Community Foundation?
- 11. I always thought foundations were for the wealthy. I’m not rich. Why should I think about giving a small amount through The Community Foundation?
- 12. How do I set up a fund, and is there a cost?
- 13. How can I give to the Community Foundation?
- 14. Can I give anonymously?
1. What is a Community Foundation?
The Pinellas Community Foundation is one of approximately 700 community foundations in the United States. Community foundations are set up by individuals, corporations, and families that are dedicated to improving the quality of life in a specific region. All community foundations share the common goal of serving donors, nonprofit organizations, and the community as a whole.
We are a tax-exempt public charity that allows people to establish permanent endowment funds within the scope of one large foundation. We also offer an inexpensive, value-added way to establish a named family fund. The distributions from these separate funds – and the principal if the donor desires – are available to respond to needs in Pinellas County.
2. What does a Community Foundation do?
The primary work of a community foundation is to inspire and work with donors to design gift plans that fit their charitable wishes and make responsive grants to nonprofit organizations working within the community.
The Pinellas Community Foundation was established in 1969 to encourage philanthropy and assist donors in building an enduring source of charitable assets. The distributions generated by the investment of these funds is used to make grants to qualified nonprofit organizations whose programs serve the needs and enhance the quality of life for present and future residents of Pinellas County.
3. What “community” do you serve?
The Pinellas Community Foundation serves all the communities located in Pinellas County. Some donors, however, have interests elsewhere which they can support through their funds at the Foundation.
4. Where do you get the money to make grants?
Donors (which include individuals, corporations and families) to The Pinellas Community Foundation, range from people of relatively modest means to those with significant financial resources. Donors make the grants we give possible.
5. Why be a donor?
To support your community and the things you care about. The Foundation offers considerable expertise regarding the needs and opportunities within Pinellas County. This expertise helps people who care about the community find the best way to direct their funds.
Our donors appreciate the speed, flexibility, and ease of using the Foundation. Because the legal tools are already in place and existing forms are available, a fund can be established -and all applicable tax advantages can be obtained – in a very short time.
6. Who governs The Community Foundation?
The Foundation is governed by a Board of Governors.
7. What do you fund?
The Pinellas Community Foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations working in areas of human services, community betterment and arts and culture.
8. How do I apply for a grant?
You can apply for a grant by calling (727) 531-0058. Grant procedures and deadlines are also found in the Grants section of this website. The Foundation’s Grants Committees review all applications in the Summer and Fall of each year and make recommendations to the Board of Governors, which makes the final decisions.
9. How is The Community Foundation different than the United Way?
Put simply, United Way raises funds for current community needs, and the Foundation serves donors and builds endowment for current and future community needs.
10. What are the financial benefits and tax advantages of gifting through The Community Foundation?
The Foundation’s approach to planned giving offers a number of important benefits to donors. Because we manage a large number of discretionary funds, administrative costs and custodial fees for any one fund are minimized – meaning less overhead cost to the donor’s fund. Another important advantage is that the federal tax code provides significant incentives for contributions to the Foundation.
The Foundation also has a number of different types of funds to accommodate donors who prefer the long-term strategy of endowments or those who want to give more actively each year. Donors may choose to establish one of these funds, which allow donors to recommend grants, or donors may choose to contribute to an existing fund that is focused on the needs in Pinellas County.
11. I always thought foundations were for the wealthy. I’m not rich. Why should I think about giving a small amount through The Community Foundation?
We offer a variety of options for making donations. By combining your resources with those of others that share your interests, you can maximize the impact of your contribution. Gifts of any size make a difference and are always appreciated.
12. How do I set up a fund, and is there a cost?
There is no cost to set up a fund at the Foundation. The first step is determining what you would like to accomplish. To do this, it may be helpful to learn more about some of our existing funds. To learn more, contact the Foundation at (727) 734-2609.
13. How can I give to the Community Foundation?
Some people prefer the simplicity of cash. But there are many other ways to give, including securities, real estate, and insurance. All gifts receive the maximum deduction allowed by law.
14. Can I give anonymously?
Yes. The Foundation honors requests for privacy. If a donor wishes to remain anonymous, the Foundation must be notified at the time the gift is made. A request for anonymity means, among other things, that the donor’s name will not be published in any public document such as the newsletter or biennial report.