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, contact us.
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What is a community foundation?
How do community foundations differ from private foundations?
Community foundations accept gifts from a wide range of donors who wish to help their community, while private foundation assets generally originate from a single source such as a family or major corporation. In addition, the charitable purpose of a private foundation is typically defined by a few people, while community foundations serve a broad range of charitable purposes of its many donors to meet various community needs. In addition, the IRS rules governing private foundations differ from those of a community foundation.
Who governs the Oklahoma Community Foundation?
We are governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees comprised of knowledgeable, concerned community citizens, businessmen and civic leaders who volunteer their time to oversee our policies, administration, investment activities and grant decisions. They represent a diverse group of people, who have different areas of expertise and community knowledge. Our Trustees are nominated for three-year terms and may serve up to nine consecutive years.
Why do donors choose to establish funds at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation?
Many individuals want their charitable gifts to make a lasting difference. Our permanent endowment funds are invested for long-term growth and will continue to support the charitable interests designated by the donor forever.
Are all funds at the Oklahoma City Foundation permanent?
We offer both permanent endowments and nonpermanent, spendable fund options. See Fund Options for more information.
What happens to an endowment established to benefit a specific charitable organization if the organization goes out of business?
Permanent endowments established to benefit a specific charitable organization will continue to make grants to that organization as long as it exists. If that organization closes, our variance power ensures that grants from the fund will be directed to a similar charitable purpose.
What is variance power?
In accepting a contribution to any fund, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation Trustees 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 (Oklahoma City Community Foundation Trustees) 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. Through our variance power, we can assure donors that if the charitable purpose of their contribution becomes impractical or impossible, the distributions from their fund will be directed to similar purposes.
How does an advised fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation differ from commercial charitable gifts?
Our advised fund options are similar to commercial charitable gift funds in that donors receive an immediate tax deduction for assets donated to the fund and then have the ability to distribute grants from the fund to specific charities or causes.
The added benefit of creating an advised fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is the opportunity to work with our professional staff who offer in-depth knowledge of the issues, opportunities and resources that shape our community. We can help you learn more about local organizations and programs that make a difference in the areas you care about most. Learn more about our giving options.
Can I recommend Grants from my fund 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.
Do I have to give cash to establish a fund?
Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes. Because we are a 501(c)(3) public charity, you receive the maximum tax benefits available for your charitable gifts.
Can other people contribute to my fund?
Yes. We make it easy for anyone to make a gift to your fund through our online giving service. Some donors suggest to their friends and family that they give to their fund in honor of a special event, such as a birthday or anniversary. All gifts to your fund are tax-deductible for the donor.
Can I give anonymously?
Yes. You can decide whether you want to be recognized for your gifts or to remain anonymous. You can feel secure in knowing that your personal information will never be disclosed.
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 Advisors for more information.