FAQ for Donors
- What is the Hampton Roads Community Foundation?
It is a nonprofit community foundation that manages and invests charitable funds for individuals, families, businesses and other nonprofit organizations. It was formed on January 1, 2010 from the merger of The Norfolk Foundation (founded 1950) and The Virginia Beach Foundation (founded 1978). It is the largest grantmaker and scholarship provider in southeastern Virginia.
- How is it different from a commercial gift fund?
We offer more charitable options at the same, or lower, service charges than commercial gift funds. We also have staff members who know their community and its needs so they can help connect you to causes and interests.
- What advantages will I enjoy with a fund at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation?
With our public charity status, we offer the maximum tax advantage allowed by federal tax law. You contribution may receive a higher deduction than the same gift to a private foundation. In addition, our staff provides personalized attention to help you fulfill your philanthropic wishes.
- What types of assets can I use to create a fund or add to an existing fund?
Your options include cash, securities, real estate, retirement accounts, insurance policies and interests in privately held corporations and limited partnerships. In addition, collectibles such as stamp collections are assets that can be sold to create a fund.
- Are there options if I cannot afford to part with assets or income at the present time?
Absolutely. You can make a bequest through your will or trust. You can also select a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust, which provide you income and current year tax deductions. Some other arrangements can help provide you current income, help diversify your portfolio and avoid capital gains, gift or estate taxes.
- How are investments managed?
Funds are managed by outside investment managers in a diversified investment portfolio structure. Investment performance and management are regularly reviewed by our investment committee. Click here to learn more.
- What amount is needed to start a fund?
You can create a permanent, named gift fund with a minimum contribution of $25,000. You can donate any amount to an existing fund or to our Community Funds, which provide grants to many nonprofits or let you support specific causes, such as arts and culture; civic leadership; educational achievement; environment; health and human services, and scholarships.
- What are the Community Leadership Fund and the Beach Fund?
The Community Leadership Fund is a group of area philanthropists who each donate a minimum of $2,100 a year to the fund. The Beach Fund is for people in their 20s through 40s (or who are young at heart) who contribute a minimum of $400 a year. Both the Partners and Beach Fund are giving groups that have two donor advised funds at the community foundation. Members are community-minded individuals interested in philanthropy who pool financial resources that are used for grantmaking. Participants have events and learning opportunities and also recommend grants to specific nonprofits each year.
- How are grants made from funds?
A portion of funds are awarded for grants based on our spending policy – currently 4.5% of an average of 12 trailing quarters. The selection of grant recipients depends on the type of fund you set up. If you have a donor advised fund, you or the advisors you name recommend grants to nonprofits. If you have a designated fund, we pay annual grants to the nonprofit recipients you selected when establishing your fund. If you have a field of interest or unrestricted fund, we review grant applications through a competitive program and award grants to nonprofits. We award grants quarterly from these funds to organizations that benefit the residents of our region. For details on some of our most recent grants click here.
- How are scholarships awarded from funds?
Each year we accept scholarship applications directly from students. We also with school guidance counselors and ACCESS College Foundation advisors to help identify students needing scholarship assistance. Recipients generally are selected on the basis of financial need, academic achievement and initiative. Many of our scholarships have specific criteria established by donors, such as college attended and field of study. Our staff works to find candidates meeting those criteria. Scholarship checks are written to specific schools, colleges and universities and earmarked for specific students. For details on scholarships click here. Most recipients are eligible for renewal of their scholarships for up to four years of study.
- What are the advantages of creating a fund at the Foundation rather than establishing a private foundation?
A private foundation works for some people, but for others a donor advised fund at a community foundation like ours makes sense. Starting a private foundation can involve months of paperwork as well as legal fees. Private foundations have ongoing administrative details someone has to handle. They can be expensive to administer and have rules and regulations some donors find limiting. For example, a private foundation must file a separate tax return, pay excise tax and meet an annual pay-out requirement. For a comparison chart on private foundations and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation click here.
- Can my family stay involved in my fund?
Yes. With a donor advised fund you can include specific family members by naming them as donor advisors who recommend grants from the fund. When establishing advised funds, you may add up to one succeeding generation as donor advisors.
- Can I keep my donations anonymous?
Absolutely. We respect all requests for privacy. You can choose to give your fund a name that does not reveal your identity. You can also request that grants from your funds remain anonymous.
- Can a nonprofit organization create a fund to benefit itself?
Yes. We have more than 35 funds started by nonprofit organizations that provide them annual grants to benefit their operations. These organizational funds are permanent and grow over time. They can be established by the nonprofit or by individuals who establish a fund for the organization. Organizational fund holders benefit from our investment expertise. Individual donors can also create a fund to benefit a specific nonprofit organization.