FAQ

Below we provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding community foundations in general and about the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. If you have a question that is not answered below, please complete the contact form.

What is a community foundation?
For some, the word “foundation” implies a fund whose assets come from one single source such as a wealthy family or major corporation and whose charitable purpose is strictly defined by a few people. This is true of many private foundations. On the other hand, a community foundation is a collection of charitable funds established by local donors – some wealthy but just as many not – who have desire to help their community.

Community foundations are 501(c)(3) public charities. Federal law provides tax benefits to 501(c)(3) organizations recognized as exempt from federal income tax and able to accept tax exempt charitable contributions. The most common type of 501(c)(3) organizations are educational, religious and charitable (community foundations). Community foundations accept gifts from a wide range of donors while private foundations have very limited source of revenue. For more information on tax exempt organizations, visit the IRS web site at www.irs.gov.

How is the Oklahoma City Community Foundation governed?
We are governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees that is charged with management of the endowments. Six of the members of the board are appointed by established community organizations to ensure a broad representation of community interests. These organizations include the Office of the Mayor and the City Council of Oklahoma City, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the United Way of Greater Oklahoma City, the chief judge of the U.S. Federal District Court and the Allied Arts Foundation. The remaining nine Trustees are appointed by the board at large. Trustees may serve up to three terms of three years each.

See who is serving as Trustees.

Why do donors choose to establish funds at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation versus giving directly to the charity?
Many individuals want their charitable gifts to benefit an organization for perpetuity. Our permanence, proven investment management and administration of funds ensures donors that their gifts will be directed as they wished.
Can you work with my attorney, CPA and/or financial planner?
Yes, we work with professional advisors and their clients to find the right charitable giving options. See Professional Advisors for more information.
Can I make a gift to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and retain income for myself or loved ones?
We offer several options that allow a donor to make a gift and receive income either for themselves or designated beneficiaries. For details, please see Giving Later.
Can I recommend grants to charities located outside of Oklahoma?
Yes, as long as the organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in good standing with the IRS and is headquartered in the United States.
How does an advised fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation differ from commercial charitable gift funds?
Both types of funds share similarities in that a gift is made to establish the fund and the donor receives a tax advantage. The added benefit of creating an advised fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation include a staff that will work with a donor to ensure their fund is meeting their charitable goals. Plus, as our mission statement says, we exist to serve the charitable needs of donors and our community, both now and for perpetuity.
Are all funds permanent?
The majority of funds we offer are permanent endowments with the exception of two: Express Funds and Gift Funds.
What do you mean by “perpetuity?”
Perpetuity is forever. If you are to establish a fund to benefit a specific organization, we will continue to make grants to that organization as long as it exists. Our variance power ensures that if the organization were to cease to exist, the grants would be directed to a similar organization or project.
Do I have to give cash to start a fund?
We are able to facilitate a variety of non-cash assets. For more information, please see How & What to Give.
What is your variance power?
In accepting a contribution to any fund, the Trustees of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation commit to the donor that the contribution will be protected for the charitable purpose originally intended. Funds received by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation are subject to Variance Power, described by U.S. Treasury Regulations as the power of the governing board (Trustees of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation) to modify any donor restrictions as to distributions if they determine them to become unnecessary, incapable of fulfillment, or inconsistent with the charitable needs of the community.
This assures donors that if the charitable purpose of their contribution becomes impractical or impossible, the distributions will be directed to similar purposes in the community.