COVID-19 Response Fund FAQs for Donors

Q: How can I donate to the Response Fund?
A: You can give online at communityfoundation.org/covid19 or mail a check to the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, COVID-19 Response Fund, 333 Bridge Street, Springfield, MA 01103.

Q: Can I restrict my donation to a specific grantee or need?
A: To ensure we make grants from the Fund as efficiently as possible and respond to needs of the community as they arise, we are not able to accept restrictions on gifts at this time.

Q: Should I give to this Fund instead of making gifts to other organizations?
A: Please continue to give to organizations you regularly support and to those that need your help at this crucial time. This Fund was not created to be the only vehicle to support critical community activities during this crisis. Rather, it is working to help get more targeted resources into the community where it’s needed most. Now is the time to double down for our community as we gain greater awareness of the depth and scale of the long-term ramifications of the outbreak. We have relaunched ValleyGives to help you learn about and give to nonprofits in our community that are responding to or affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Q: When will you share who you Fund?
A: View the list of grantees on our website. We will continuously update this page as new grants are awarded from the COVID-19 Response Fund.

Q: Is there a fee to contribute to the Response Fund?
A: No, there’s no fee to contribute—even for gifts by credit card—because the Community Foundation is covering those costs. In addition, the Community Foundation is absorbing the costs of staff time and operating expenses related to Response Fund management, grant distribution, and fundraising. One hundred percent of gifts will go to nonprofits in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties.

updated: 09/28/2020

Scholarship and Loan Program FAQs

Q: What is the process to apply for scholarships and loans?
A: We are pleased to offer streamlined, online applications for students who wish to apply for our scholarships and interest-free loans. The online application opens January 1 and closes March 31. Decisions about recipients are made during May and June.

There is a separate application for an interest-free loan. That application opens on June 1 and closes January 31. Students can apply at any time during this period and a decision will be made within two weeks of applying.

Q: When do I submit my online application?
A. You must complete the online application between January 1 through March 31 each year.

Q: Can I apply for scholarships and loans through the same applications?
A: No. Unlike in previous years, there are now separate applications and deadlines for scholarships and loans.

Q: What if I don’t have internet access or a computer at home to submit the online application?
A: We recommend contacting a local library, community center, employment agency, or senior center to determine if you are eligible to use the free or minimal cost public use computer terminals. If you’re unable to access a computer with internet service please contact us at scholar@communityfoundation.org or at (413) 732-2858 at least one week prior to the close of the application.

Q: Can I reapply for scholarships each year?
A: Yes! We strongly encourage you to reapply each year! You must complete the online application every year in which you wish to be considered for scholarships. Please keep in mind that receipt of an award for one academic year does not guarantee that an award will be granted in a subsequent year. Conversely, if you did not receive an award in a previous year, don’t be discouraged from reapplying in another year.

Q: Can I reapply for an interest-free loan?
A: Students can reapply for an interest-free loan each year they are attending college. Students are eligible to receive up to $12,000 in loans throughout the time they are in college.

Q: What is a FAFSA and where is it available?
A: FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s the first step in determining a student’s eligibility for federal, state and sometimes college financial assistance. There is no charge to complete this document. Go to www.fafsa.gov to begin the process.

Q: What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?
A:
Upon completion of the FAFSA, the student will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is a document providing basic information about a student’s eligibility for federal student aid as well as the answers to other questions on the FAFSA. A student usually receives this document electronically. The SAR is several pages long. Be sure to provide us with the entire document (approximately six pages) and not just the confirmation page.

Q: Do I need to send an official copy of my transcript with my scholarship application?
A:
You can submit either a copy of an official transcript or an unofficial transcript. The transcript must show the following:
1) Your name
2) Your college’s / high school’s name or the website URL clearly indicating the name of your college if it is retrieved from a student portal
4) All coursework you’re currently enrolled in, and all grades received in courses to date
5) Your cumulative GPA (not just the GPA earned in a given semester)

In all cases, we reserve the right to request that an official transcript copy be submitted.

Q: Do I have to write an essay for the application?
A: All scholarship applicants are required to complete at least one essay, and possibly other shorter ones.

Your essay is vital to our selection committee because it allows them to learn more about you than just your grades, activities, and achievements. Your essay is your moment to shine, show your personality, share your goals and passions, and compel our reviewers. We encourage you to take care in creating your essay, as it is your chance to stand out.

There is no essay requirement for an interest-free educational loan.

Q: Are only those students who live in Franklin, Hampshire or Hampden counties eligible for scholarships?
A: Most of our scholarships are limited to residents of Franklin, Hampshire or Hampden counties. We do offer a handful of scholarships for which students residing outside of the area are eligible. Your residency is determined from the address listed on your FAFSA.

Q: Where do I have to live to be eligible for an interest-free educational loan?
A: Students eligible to receive the James Colgan Loan must currently live in Massachusetts and have done so for a minimum of five years.

Q: Are part-time students eligible?
A: Yes. Unless otherwise noted in the scholarship or interest-free loan descriptions, full-time and part-time students pursuing higher education at an accredited institution in the U.S. are eligible for scholarships and/or loans.

Q: Are scholarships and loans available to graduate students?
A: Yes. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for scholarships and interest-free loans, unless otherwise noted in the description.

Q: Do I have to attend a college or university in Massachusetts?
A: No. Scholarships and interest-free loans are awarded to eligible students enrolled in accredited colleges and universities anywhere in the U.S., unless otherwise noted in the description for the scholarship or interest-free loan.

Q: How are recipients selected?
A: A committee of community volunteers selects recipients based on the specific criteria of the scholarship or interest-free loan. With the exception of a few awards, your financial need is strongly taken into consideration. Your academic history is also considered, as are your essays submitted with the application.

Q: When are decisions made, and when will I find out if I received an award?
A: Generally, we make decisions about scholarship recipients by the end of May, and students are notified by the end of June. Because students can apply for a loan anytime between June 1 and January 31, we will notify you if you received a loan within two weeks after you submit your application.

Q: What is the maximum dollar amount of scholarships and interest-free loans I can receive from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts?
A: If you’re attending a four-year school, you can receive up to $3,000 in scholarships in any one award year. Students attending two- or four-year colleges are also eligible to receive one, $3,000 interest-free loan in a given award year.

Q: What expenses can scholarships cover?
A: Scholarships may be used to offset tuition, fees, room and board, and other items included as part of the cost for attending the institution. Some part and/or all of the award could be considered taxable income. We recommend checking with your college or tax accountant regarding this matter.

If you’re enrolled in less than six credits, scholarships are payable for tuition and fees only.

If you’re enrolled at a for-profit institution, scholarships are payable for tuition only.

Q: Will a scholarship from the Community Foundation affect my financial aid package?
A: Colleges may adjust financial aid packages to reflect scholarships other than those granted by the college. Usually a college or university will first use an outside scholarship to replace unmet need, or reduce the amount of loans or work study before adjusting grants or scholarships. However, policies vary at each college, and we strongly encourage you to check with the financial aid office at your school.

Q: How do I receive my scholarship and/or interest-free loan award?
A:
Scholarships are paid directly to your college after your enrollment is verified for the semester. The full amount of your awarded scholarship is generally paid in the fall semester, however there are exceptions. If this is the case, we will notify you directly.

We will pay interest-free loans directly to you once you have completed the necessary steps and paperwork. More information about our interest-free loan process can be found here.

Q: What if I withdraw or only attend one semester in an academic year?
A: We will address this situation on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Can I apply for scholarships and interest-free loans without knowing where I will be going to school?
A: Yes! We encourage you to apply for our scholarships and interest-free loans as long as you will be attending a college in the coming academic year.

Q: If I am not a first-year student, am I still eligible for the scholarships and interest-free loan programs?
A: Yes! You do not need to be a first-year student to qualify for our scholarships and interest-free loans.

Q: What happens if I defer my enrollment in the Fall semester due to COVID-19?
A: Even if you are not sure what your plans are due to COVID-19, you are still encouraged to apply for our scholarships and interest-free loans. We will address these situations on a case-by-case basis.

Additional questions? Contact us at scholar@communityfoundation.org

Grant Program General FAQs

Q: Whom does the Foundation fund? 
A: Nonprofit, public benefit organizations with evidence of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Q: What if a group is not a 501(c)(3) organization?
A:
Those group who are not 501(c)(3) organizations who are doing charitable work can seek funding for a project through a fiscal sponsor (The Community Foundation does not serve as a fiscal sponsor). These arrangements must be approved by the Foundation before funds can be requested. If a grant request is awarded, the 501(c)(3) organization serving as the fiscal sponsor must agree to the terms of the award and they will receive the funding. For more information on the Foundation’s requirements for organizations applying through a fiscal sponsor click here.

Note: The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts does not serve as a fiscal sponsor.

Q: What will not be funded by the Foundation’s competitive grant programs?
A:
While the breadth of our granting is significant we do have a list of ineligible activities that can be found here.

Q: What are the available grant programs?
A:
Currently the Foundation offers a COVID grantmaking as well as ValleyCreates grantmaking programs. Click here to view our Grants Program Overview. We also have a Scholarship and Loan program for individuals. Click here to learn more about this program.

Q: Can an organization request more than one grant in a calendar year?
A:
Yes.

Q: Can an organization submit more than one application to a particular grant program? 
A: Please contact a Program Officer to discuss before submitting a second application to a program.

Q: How do I submit an application? 
A: Please read the eligibility requirements for the grant carefully. Most grant programs require a phone conversation with the appropriate Program Officer to be eligible for consideration. Go to www.communityfoundation.org/grants/to locate the link to the online grant application.

Q: Can a paper application be submitted instead of those that are online?
A:
The Foundation has moved to an online application process. We can serve you better with the online process and do require an online application for all grant programs. To allow for any technical or computer issues, you may want to get started with the application early. We also recommend that when you set up your user name and password for the first time that you do it during our regular business hours in case you need assistance.

Q: I have more than one idea for a grant proposal, can I submit a draft?
A: The Foundation does not review drafts of proposals and incomplete applications are not accepted. Your initial phone conversation with a Program Officer is a great opportunity to seek input about your funding request. If you have questions after the initial phone conversation you may always email the Program Officer with follow-up or additional questions.

Q: What is the grant review process?
A:
Applications will be screened for eligibility and completeness by Foundation staff. Staff will work with our volunteer committees to determine which applications meet our programmatic intent and will move forward in the review process. Organizations under consideration will be offered either an in-person or telephone review meeting with a Foundation volunteer and/or staff. Final funding decisions will be determined by the Foundation’s Distribution Committee. All grants will also be approved by our Trustees. Please review the “Grant Process” of the program for which you are applying for more details.

Q: What is the process for the Foundation’s final grant report? 
A: The terms of all Foundation grant awards include the submission of a final grant report upon completion of a grant. This grant report, in most cases, will be generated electronically from a Foundation officer and will be accessible to the grantee through our grant portal. The project completion date was identified by the grantee in the original grant application.

One of the Foundation’s priorities is collecting measurable impact data on all our grant programs. Starting with our 2017 grant programs, grantees must submit a final grant report for any Foundation grant program. In order to be considered complete, the grantee must be able to report on the completion of the project’s activities and short term outcomes. A final grant expenditure report must also be submitted at that time.

Once the grant report is submitted a Foundation Program Officer will review it. The Program Officer either approves the grant report or contacts the grantee for additional or missing information. A grantee must have an “approved” designation, via email from the Foundation, dated at least 30 calendar days prior to the grant deadline of the desired grant program in order to be eligible to apply for a subsequent grant cycle. Timely submission of grant reports is strongly encouraged as program staff will need sufficient time to review and determine the status of your report.

Q: Do you provide multi-year funding? 
A: Most of our grant programs provide funding for one year (or less).

Q: How will I be contacted to learn the outcome of my application?
A:
Decision letters will be sent electronically by email.

Q: If our proposal does not get funded, can I learn why?
A:
We endeavor to be responsive to questions from applicants. If you have questions about your application or would like feedback please contact the appropriate Program Officer.

Q: Our 501(c)(3)organization is the fiscal sponsor for a group that plans on applying for a grant and our organization would like to apply for the same funding opportunity. Will you accept more than one application from our organization? 
A: Starting in 2018 we will consider more than one application from a 501(c)(3) organization provided that only one of the requests is for the 501(c)(3) organization and any additional request is in support of a fiscally sponsored project. Please note the following:

  1. Our funding is limited so when submitting more than one funding request from an organization you are reducing the odds of receiving funding, especially if both projects serve the same county.
  2. Organizations that are applying under a fiscal sponsor must complete our Fiscal Sponsor Agreement Form and submit required documentation 10 business days prior to the deadline of any grant competition.

Reserve a Conference Room FAQs

Q: Can we bring our own laptop?
A:
Yes! We encourage guests to bring their own laptop, please be sure that an HDMI input is available to connect to the TV.

Q: Can we use the Community Foundation’s computer?
A:
Yes! The Foundation has a guest account for users to login for both TVs and projectors (Boardroom).

Q: Is there a price for using conference rooms?
A:
No! We do not charge a fee for the use of our office space, but we encourage you to make a donation to help support the Community Foundation. You can make a donation here.

Q: Where can my guests and I park?
A:
There are plenty of pay parking lots and garages around our offices, as well as on street parking (metered).

Q: When is the conference space available?
A:
Conference space is available by request Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, excluding holidays. Space is granted on a “first come, first serve basis.” Without a reservation, we cannot guarantee the room will be available on the date and time requested.

Q: Will any conference rooms work with a Mac?
A:
Yes, ONLY if your Mac has an HDMI port. Newer Macs will have Thunderbolt connections that require an adapter to HDMI (Not Provided).

Fundholder FAQs

Q: How can I see a history of my gifts and grants from my fund?
A:
As a fundholder, you have 24/7 access to our online Donor Central platform that provides a review of gifts, grants, and balance.
If you have questions about Donor Central, please contact Kerri Tichy.

Q: Can I fundraise to add to my fund?
A:
Yes. If you are raising money to add to a fund through events or other activities, please review our fundraising guidelines.

Q: How can I add to my fund?
A:
We can accept your gift in many forms.

Q: How often does my fund need to make grants?
A:
In order to fulfill our mission to provide support to our community, the Foundation requires that every endowed fund distribute annually, and every advised fund be active at least every three years. This can include outgoing grants, or incoming gifts. Please see our Inactive Funds policy for more information.

Q: Can my advised fund continue beyond my lifetime?
A:
We would be honored to maintain your legacy by endowing your advised fund. You can define the specific issues in our region, named nonprofits, or scholarships that you’d like the fund to support. Endowed funds continue in perpetuity, distributing annual grants following the guidelines developed by you and the Foundation.

Q: Can I include the Foundation in my will?
A:
Yes, we welcome bequests. We ask that you speak with us in advance so that we can better understand your intention and ensure that we will be able to fulfill it.

Other questions? Please call or email us at your convenience.
For questions about Donor Central, contact Kerri Tichy.
For all other questions, contact Nikai Fondon.

Donor Advised Funds FAQs

Donor Advised Funds allow donors to recommend grants to charitable organizations of their choice while achieving maximum tax benefits. They also provide an efficient alternative to a private foundation.

Q: How do I establish a Donor Advised Fund?
A: The Foundation’s philanthropic services team works with donors and/or their financial advisors to establish the fund. Once the details have been discussed, a fund agreement letter is drafted and signed, and then assets may be transferred to establish the fund.

Q: Is there a required minimum balance?
A: The Community Foundation requires a $10,000 minimum balance. That balance may be reached over several years with a fundraising/donation plan approved by the Foundation. Amounts in excess of that minimum each year (including earnings from the fund’s investment) are available for recommended distribution.

Q: How are the funds invested?
A: Foundation funds are professionally invested under the supervision of community volunteers with expertise in investment management. Funds are pooled and invested with other assets of the Foundation for fuller diversification, with each fund accruing its own share of the earnings. Each fund is accounted for separately. Donors may choose from a selection of portfolios and will receive quarterly financial statements.

Q: What are the administrative fees?
A: The fee for Donor Advised Funds is currently 1.25% of the principal annually with a minimum annual fee of $125, in addition to the expenses of the fund’s investment.

Q: What do the fees cover?
A: The fees cover all administrative tasks assumed by the Foundation. Tasks include recordkeeping, investment, filing all required reports, monitoring the charitable status of recipients of such grants, and the provision of tax receipts for gifts to the fund.

Q: How do I recommend grants?
A: Fund advisors may recommend grants to public charities in amounts of $100 or more. Grants may be recommended at any time from principal or earnings above the $10,000 fund minimum. Recommendations will be followed as long as they comply with current IRS guidelines. See the Advised Fund Policies for more information.

Scholarship Funds FAQs

The Community Scholarship Program makes higher education possible for many residents with financial need in our region. The Community Foundation manages one of the largest community-based scholarship and loan programs in the country. With over 100 scholarships and interest-free loan programs, providing awards to over 800 students each year. Scholarships may be named to honor or memorialize a loved one or colleague.

Q: How do I establish a scholarship fund?
A: The Foundation’s philanthropic services team works with donors and/or their financial advisors to establish the fund. Once the details have been discussed, a fund agreement letter is drafted and signed, and then assets may be transferred to establish the fund.

Q: What are the required minimums to establish a scholarship fund?
A: Separately named scholarship funds can be established with gifts of $25,000 or more, allowing a minimum annual scholarship award of $1,000 or more. That balance may be reached over several years with a fundraising/donation plan approved by the Foundation. Endowed scholarships will be awarded in the first available scholarship cycle that occurs after a period of twelve months from the date the fund minimum is reached, unless otherwise approved.

Q: What if I wish to make a scholarship gift of a lesser amount?
A: Donations of any size are welcome to the Foundation’s Community Scholarship Fund and will be awarded in full annually. Donations of any amount are also welcome to the Future Scholars Fund, an endowed fund.

Q: How are funds invested?
A: Foundation funds are professionally invested under the supervision of community volunteers with expertise in investment management. Funds are pooled and invested with other assets of the Foundation for fuller diversification, with each fund accruing its own share of the earnings. Each fund is accounted for separately. Donors may choose from a selection of portfolios and will receive quarterly financial statements.

Q: What are the administrative fees?
A: The fee is currently 1.5% of the principal annually for scholarship funds which use the Community Foundation Selection Committee to select scholarship recipients.

Q: How do students receive scholarship funds?
A: A single application enables students to access the more than 100 scholarship funds managed by the Community Foundation. Scholarships are primarily awarded to residents of western Massachusetts for full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate study at accredited institutions of higher education who fulfill all application requirements. Scholarship awards are paid to the college or university after enrollment has been verified. More details are available at communityfoundation.org/scholarships

Q: Can I choose criteria to define the eligibility for the scholarship?
A: We strongly encourage donors to limit restrictions on scholarship funds so that they can be awarded annually, and remain relevant and impactful for generations to come. However, donors may recommend 1-2 selection criteria (and 1 preference criteria) based on information already collected on the current application form:

  • Residency: Counties of Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, city/town or a combination
  • High School: Current graduating seniors or graduates of a specific high school
  • Year of Study: Freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate student
  • Specific College or University
  • Major
  • Ethnicity
  • Financial Need

Field of Interest Funds FAQs

A Field of Interest Fund supports a general area of charitable activity such as adult literacy, preserving the environment, or the arts. A Field of Interest Fund can also support charitable work within a geographic area.

Q: How do I establish a Field of Interest Fund?
A: Funds can be established easily and quickly. The Foundation assists donors and their financial advisors with the fund-establishment process. Once the details have been discussed with the Foundation, simply sign a fund agreement letter and transfer the assets to establish the fund.

Q: Is there a required minimum balance?
A: It is not economical for the Community Foundation to administer funds with a long-term balance less than $10,000. That balance may be reached over several years with a fundraising/donation plan approved by the Foundation.

Q: How are the funds invested?
A: Our funds are professionally invested under the supervision of expert community volunteers. Funds are pooled and invested with other assets of the Foundation for fuller diversification, with each fund accruing its own share of the earnings. Each fund is accounted for separately. Donors may choose from a selection of portfolios and will receive quarterly financial statements.

Q: Who manages the fund distribution process?
A: Our Distribution Committee’s competitive grant making process ensures the greatest possible breadth, thoroughness, and equity in evaluating and prioritizing grant requests. These community volunteers thoroughly review each request to ensure the strength and viability of the project.

Q: What are the administrative fees?
A: The fee is currently 1.25% of the principal annually.

Q: What do the fees cover?
A: The fees cover all administrative tasks assumed by the Foundation. Tasks include recordkeeping, investment, filing all required reports, monitoring the charitable status of recipients of such grants, and the provision of tax receipts for gifts to the fund.

Q: Can a Field of Interest Fund become obsolete?
A: Funds will never become obsolete. Endowed funds will provide an enduring legacy that meets the defined needs for generations to come. If a change of circumstances makes literal compliance with the terms of the gift unnecessary, incapable of fulfillment, or inconsistent with the charitable needs of Western Massachusetts, our trustees can vary them.

Designated Funds FAQs

Designated Funds are endowed funds that support one or more specific charitable organizations of the donor’s choice in perpetuity.

Q: How do I establish a Designated Fund?
A: Funds can be established easily and quickly. The Foundation assists donors and their financial advisors with the fund-establishment process. Once the details have been discussed with the Foundation, simply sign a fund agreement letter and transfer the assets to establish the fund.

Q: Is there a required minimum balance?
A: It is not economical for the Community Foundation to administer funds with a long-term balance less than $10,000. That balance may be reached over several years with a fundraising/donation plan approved by the Foundation.

Q: How are the funds invested?
A: Our funds are professionally invested under the supervision of expert community volunteers. Funds are pooled and invested with other assets of the Foundation for fuller diversification, with each fund accruing its own share of the earnings. Each fund is accounted for separately. Donors may choose from a selection of portfolios and will receive quarterly financial statements.

Q: What are the administrative fees?
A: The fee for endowed funds is currently 1% of the principal annually applied to a 13-quarter rolling average of that principal (with a minimum annual fee of $125), in addition to the expenses of the fund’s investment.

Q: What do the fees cover?
A: The fees cover all administrative tasks assumed by the Foundation. Tasks include recordkeeping, investment, filing all required reports, monitoring the charitable status of recipients of such grants, and the provision of tax receipts for gifts to the fund.

Q: Can a Designated Fund become obsolete?
A: Funds will never become obsolete. If a charity is no longer operating, its assigned distribution can be spread across other charities supported by the fund or the Foundation can assign it to a charity doing similar work.

Nonprofit Agency Funds FAQs

A Nonprofit Agency Fund helps agencies provide a more solid financial foundation for their work. More than 100 charitable organizations in the Pioneer Valley have established funds with the Community Foundation.

Q: How do I establish a Nonprofit Agency Fund?
A: Funds can be established easily and quickly. The Foundation assists agencies and their financial advisors with the fund-establishment process. Once the details have been discussed with the Foundation, simply sign a fund agreement letter and transfer the assets to establish the fund.

Q: Is there a required minimum balance?
A: It is not economical for the Community Foundation to administer funds with a long-term balance less than $10,000. That balance may be reached over several years with a fundraising/donation plan approved by the Foundation. Amounts in excess of that minimum each year (including earnings from the fund’s investment) would be available for recommended distribution.

Q: How are funds invested?
A: Our funds are professionally invested under the supervision of expert community volunteers. Funds are pooled and invested with other assets of the Foundation for fuller diversification, with each fund accruing its own share of the earnings. Each fund is accounted for separately. Agencies may choose from a selection of portfolios and will receive quarterly financial statements.

Q: What are the administrative fees and expenses?
A: The fee for Agency Advised Funds is currently 1.25% of the principal annually, and the fee for Agency Endowed Funds is currently 1% of the principal annually (with a minimum annual fee of $125 in either case). These fees are in addition to the relatively low-cost expenses of the fund’s investment.

Q: What do the fees cover?
A: The fees cover all administrative tasks assumed by the Foundation. Tasks include recordkeeping, investment, filing all required reports, monitoring the charitable status of recipients of such grants, the provision of tax receipts for gifts to the fund and quarterly statements of fund activity.

Q: Who owns the fund’s assets?
A: According to both income tax and securities laws, establishing a fund requires the charity to transfer title to the assets to the Foundation. Although the Foundation owns the assets the Agency may maintain a beneficial interest, which under Financial Accounting Standards Boards Statement #136, would allow the agency to record an asset on its financial statements. We suggest the agency discuss this with their accountants and the Foundation.

Q: Do you accept unusual assets?
A: Yes. The Foundation can accept stock, mutual fund shares, closely held stock, real estate, personal property, retirement assets, life insurance, planned gifts and private foundation assets.

Q: What’s the difference between an Endowed and an Agency Advised Fund?
A: Endowed funds allow for regular distributions to the agency in accordance with the Foundation’s policy, which attempts to provide long-term protection of the principal (currently 4.25% of principal annually). Agency Advised Funds allow the agency to recommend distributions of both income and principal whenever desired. Please know that the Foundation is permitted to return the entire balance in this fund to the agency. However, title to the monies in this fund is in the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Recommendations for subsequent distributions may not be binding instructions.

Q: Do you offer fundraising assistance?
A: The Foundation is not able to serve as the fundraising arm of those charities with Agency Funds. However, our experienced development staff is available to meet or consult by phone with agency directors, board members, finance committees, development committees, and even donor prospects to discuss fundraising strategies and techniques.

Q: What do your Planned Giving services include?
A: We help agencies avoid the costs and liabilities of offering their own planned giving program by administering charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, and lead trusts that direct gifts to endowed agency funds. We serve as a partner by administering the gifts and providing advice on marketing planned gifts. We also work with potential donors and their advisors to answer technical gift planning inquiries.

Q: What are some other benefits to working with the Foundation?
A: Charities with Agency Funds at the Foundation may enjoy the increased visibility as part of our larger giving community. Agency Funds are listed in our Annual Report, which receives widespread circulation. An Agency Fund may enhance a charity’s fundraising prospects because some donors wish to support charities, but prefer the relative long-term security of the Foundation, particularly if they want to ensure their gifts are endowed forever. Of course, agencies also benefit from our high quality, cost-efficient administration and stewardship services.