FAQs: professional advisors

When does it make sense to suggest a charitable gift to my client?

Philanthropy is a very special decision. As a professional advisor, you can help clients realize their charitable objectives by listening for charitable giving opportunities, explaining options and suggesting solutions. Significant giving opportunities often arise when clients are making major business, personal, and financial decisions. Our staff can work with you and your client to recommend giving strategies.

What are the tax benefits for my clients if they give through NCCF?

NCCF offers the maximum charitable tax advantages available by law. Because NCCF is a public charity, it is not subject to the taxes and regulations affecting private foundations and it has greater flexibility on matters such as minimum payout.

How can my client provide support for a favorite charity through NCCF?

Your client has two great options for supporting a favorite charity: a donor advised fund or a designated fund. A donor advised fund gives individuals, families or businesses the opportunity to participate in grantmaking by recommending their preferred nonprofits and programs as grant recipients. It is a simple, personal and highly effective way to give. A designated fund provides regular, annual funding to one or more nonprofit organizations specified by the donor. In both instances, NCCF handles all of the administration, record keeping and financial statements for the funds.

How does a donor advised fund work?

A donor advised fund with NCCF will give your client the opportunity to take part in the grantmaking process without the work and expense of operating a private foundation. Your client can establish a donor advised fund with NCCF with a minimum gift of $25,000. Each year, your client will have the opportunity to recommend grants to community organizations. We perform the due diligence to ensure the recommended grantees are qualified, viable organizations in good standing and then issue the checks from the fund. Grants are then ratified by our grants committee. NCCF handles all the paperwork and administration. Donor advised funds are a great way for your client to involve children and grandchildren in family philanthropy.

How much control and freedom would by client have to recommend grant recipients?

Your client can recommend a grant to any organization that is qualified as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which includes most faith-based programs. NCCF will ensure that groups recommended for a grant meet this requirement. In complying with federal tax laws and for the protection of your client, NCCF cannot approve grant recommendations that would benefit an individual, fulfill a personal obligation or support a political campaign or a private foundation.

What are the minimum amounts required to open funds?

The minimum amount to open an endowment is $25,000 and $40,000 for a scholarship. A non-endowed donor advised fund may be established with a starting gift of $10,000 and is required to maintain a balance of $10,000.

How much does it cost?

In general, NCCF’s administrative fees do not exceed 1 percent of the fund’s average balance. Scholarship endowments are subject to a 2 percent annual fee. Fees for funds in excess of $1 million are negotiated. (Investment management fees are netted from fund performance.)

What types of assets can my client use to start a fund?

NCCF has the ability to accept a range of assets including:

  • Cash (or checks) – often the simplest and most convenient form of gift
  • Publicly traded securities (equities, bonds, mutual funds)
  • Closely held stock*
  • Real estate*
  • Tangible personal property*

*These require prior approval and may have other conditions of acceptance.

In addition, donors may also utilize other charitable giving options to start or grow a fund, including:

  • Gifts by will or testamentary transfers
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Charitable lead trusts
  • Retirement plan assets
  • Life insurance
  • Private foundation transfers
Can my client name a successor to advise the fund?

Yes. If the donor does not name a successor, or after the successor's passing, the NCCF will continue to award the funds in accordance with your client's wishes as articulated in the fund agreement.

What services does NCCF provide?

All NCCF fundholders can choose from a menu of services without any extra charge. These include: investment management, grantmaking, planned giving, marketing and overall fund administration. In the event a donor requests services beyond the routine, NCCF reserves the right to assess additional reasonable administrative fees.

How do NCCF’s costs compare with commercial gift funds and private foundations?

Our fees are highly competitive with commercial gift funds, but even more important, the NCCF offers your clients unique value including personal service, local knowledge of community needs and the nonprofit sector, and expertise in the philanthropic field. Establishing a fund at the NCCF is considerably less expensive than starting a private foundation since we handle all administrative details, including filing annual tax returns, performing due diligence on grants, and all details associated with processing and tracking grants. There are also no setup fees or excise taxes.

Can charitable funds established with NCCF benefit areas other than North Carolina?

Yes. Our role is to help donors create funds that carry out their charitable goals, whether in North Carolina or elsewhere. NCCF donors have the ability to recommend grants to organizations across the country.

How can I learn more about planned giving through NCCF?

Visit our Planned Giving link online or review Planned Giving Perspectives.

Who can I contact for more information?

Contact Beth Boney Jenkins, vice president of development, at bjenkins@nccommunityfoundation.org or 919-256-6932. Donors in western counties may contact Megan Lynch Ellis, regional director of development, at mellis@nccommunityfoundation.org or 828-355-4306. Attorneys may contact Mary Morgan, philanthropy counsel, at mmorgan@nccommunityfoundation.org or 919-256-6909.