How Does it Work
A community foundation receives contributions from a wide range of local individuals, families, nonprofit organizations, and businesses. Some contribute to The Fund for Grays Harbor, which is the core fund supporting our community grants program. Others establish separate named funds for specific purposes: to support local education or health, to fund a scholarship for local students, or to endow a local nonprofit institution.
Saving donors time and money
A community foundation saves individual donors time and money by handling the administrative details of many funds jointly: through the community foundation’s finance committee it makes investment decisions for all funds; through its staff it handles all tax filings, bookkeeping, and grants processing; through its central design it helps to attract the best grant proposals from the area served, expanding the awareness of individual donors of community needs.
The Grays Harbor Community Foundation works with the nonprofit organizations in Grays Harbor to find ways in which the foundation can support or improve their work. All local charities are welcome and encouraged to apply for grant support.
Depending on the donor’s wishes, the process of making grants may differ. Some donors choose to become involved in the grant process by offering donor advised funds to our board. Others allow our board of directors to select grant recipients, called unrestricted funds. Or a donor may choose to specify a general area of interest in which grants from his or her fund should be made .
Board of directors oversight
Regardless, the community foundation’s board of directors oversees the whole process in order to ensure that all grantees are charitable organizations. The board also has final say on how assets are distributed. This results in a balance of control between what donors hope to accomplish and the oversight of the “community,” as represented by our board.
Because of this and other built-in “safeguards” of the community foundation model, the IRS permits each fund established in a community foundation to qualify as a “component fund” of of the foundation.
In effect, that means that each fund qualifies as a publicly-supported, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization unto itself. It becomes, as it were, a “foundation within a foundation.”
In turn, the advantage of public-charity status gives donors maximum tax benefits for all their donations.
We simplify the process of giving. By offering donors an easier way to achieve their charitable and financial goals, we help them avoid the complicated and sometimes expensive process of establishing a separate private foundation. We also help them focus on what’s really important — solutions to local problems.
Our expenses are funded by a simple annual administrative fee (1% of total net assets in most cases). There are no other fees to establish or maintain a fund.
The Grays Harbor Community Foundation is a philanthropic resource for all people who want to improve Grays Harbor County. Our function, in essence, is to help the people who help our community.
Our hope is that by telling our stories and sharing our message, we will inspire more people to begin sharing their own dreams for making Grays Harbor a better place to live, work, play and serve.