Chamber creates agency endowment fund with Community Foundation

Aug 26, 2010

The Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Community Foundation of Johnson County (CFJC). The business association is converting its private foundation to a Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation offers administrative reporting services to area nonprofits that rollover their private funds to an agency advised fund. Mike Stoffregen, executive director of CFJC, says, while ownership of the funds must be released to the Community Foundation to meet IRS qualifications, agencies retain the benefit and the ability to direct the dividends of the transferred funds. "These agencies regularly communicate their wishes with us to direct grant dividends to nonprofit organizations that support their interests and causes. And the Community Foundation handles preparation of 990 reports, which private foundations, regardless of size, are required to file and make available to the public."

President and CEO of the Iowa City Area Chamber Nancy Quellhorst says, "The Foundation was launched as an Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Program project in 2000 and has been a stalwart partner since that time. The Donor Advised Foundation fund is a flexible, efficient way to facilitate our charitable giving."

Stoffregen says the Community Foundation Resource Committee is meeting with 15 area private foundations to determine their interest in converting to a Donor Advised Fund. "The Community Foundation works with a team of local investment advisers and consultants to maximize earnings for our funds. Private foundations are required to pay out annually 5 percent of the market value of their investment assets."

Stoffregen estimates only 10 percent of grant applications receive funding. "Every year, private foundations receive countless requests for funding, and competition for these resources is intense. We work with our Donor Advised Funds and provide a comprehensive review process for our agencies."

The history of modern philanthropy dates to the Carnegie Corporation (1911) and The Rockefeller Foundation (1913). Since the early 20th century, the number of foundations established in the U.S. has grown dramatically. After World War II, a number of foundations were established with the emergence of company-sponsored foundations and a new emphasis on family foundations with living donors adding to foundation growth. As of 2000, there were 56,582 foundations in the United States. They awarded $27.6 billion and held assets of $486.1 billion.

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