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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee?

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is a local nonprofit working to bring good people and good causes together by ensuring the excellent stewardship of lasting charitable funds and the wise investment of grants made in 43 counties we serve in Middle Tennessee and parts of Kentucky. The Community Foundation exists to accomplish the charitable goals of donors by making giving personal and easy, accessible and cost-effective. We are enriching the community by connecting generosity with need.

For 22 years, The Community Foundation has served as a leader, catalyst and resource for philanthropy in Middle Tennessee and beyond, leveraging our expertise and unique capabilities as a public foundation to identify and address critical needs.

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How does The Community Foundation function?

The Community Foundation receives contributions of all sizes from every corner of our community, and then through wise investment and efficient management, reinvests those contributions in the form of grants to nonprofit organizations working to benefit the community. By providing low-cost administrative services to a variety of donors throughout Middle Tennessee, The Community Foundation is building a permanent collection of endowed funds while supporting the charitable objectives of the donor.

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Do you have to be wealthy to participate?

NO. This is a Foundation of the people and for the people. It is named “community” for a reason. We have gratefully received donations ranging from 40¢ to millions of dollars. We stand ready to help anyone willing to give something back to enrich this community.

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What are the advantages of using The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee rather than a private foundation?

Our version of a private foundation for an individual, family or corporation is called a Donor-Advised Fund. It:

• Is easier and less expensive to establish (no set up costs and a minimum contribution of $5,000)
• Is easier and less expensive to maintain (The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee gets paid an annual fee of only 1.25%* which both covers our expenses and allows us to respond to grant requests)
• Provides a greater annual tax deduction, in many cases
• Provides easy access to information about nonprofits seeking support
• Enables you to make gifts of stock options, closely held securities, insurance policies, real estate, etc. with ease and without most IRS limitations
• Lowers the administrative cost thereby increasing grantmaking capacity
• Permits you to time gifts without an IRS-mandated payout schedule
• Allows the avoidance of the 1-2% excise tax on investment income
• Creates the opportunity to make gifts anonymously
• Enables you to establish a legacy of caring in perpetuity – which will be overseen by committed leaders dedicated to preserving donor intent

* In most cases there is also an investment management fee which varies.

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Why should I give through The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee instead of directly to the charity/charities of my choice?

Your charitable priorities may shift. Certain problems disappear over time and sometimes agencies “go out of business.” Through The Community Foundation, you can have the flexibility to address a variety of charitable priorities, whether you support many different causes or your interests change over time. A permanent fund in The Community Foundation is also a safeguard designed to carry out your charitable objectives in perpetuity – dedicated to making sure the spirit of your gift remains intact through changing time and circumstance.

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I am interested in establishing a fund but some of my interests lie out-of-town. Can I recommend agencies/organizations beyond Middle Tennessee?

YES. While we hope most of the grants The Community Foundation makes will go to support community endeavors, we recognize that some of what has made our area so healthy has come from outside its borders. We have several funds which are designated to provide endowments for organizations around the country. They are here because their benefactors are here or do business here.

We have several donors, in fact, who have established funds within The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, but who live in Georgia, California, New York, or elsewhere. And, we have Donor Advisors who request that gifts from their funds go to benefit favorite organizations across the country. The Foundation’s Board maintains that national organizations, colleges and universities, and nonprofits doing good work in other areas have all made this a better place to live. And, we ourselves have gratefully accepted grants recommended by donors from Donor Advised Funds in other places.

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Can The Community Foundation help me reduce my estate taxes?

YES. Although it may sound too good to be true, time and time again, we have seen cases in which people actually increase what they can leave to their heirs through a gift to charity.

It often comes as a shock to us that taxes can take more than 50% of our estates before they reach our heirs. If you have an IRA, 401(k) or Keough, that estate tax is compounded by income taxation, as well.

But there are opportunities to leave a sizable portion of your estate to benefit your heirs and support charitable causes. To learn more about the options we can facilitate for you, or for your clients making estate plans, call us at 615-321-4939.

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How much does it cost to establish a charitable fund?

$5,000 to establish almost all types of charitable funds
$10,000 to establish a scholarship fund

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Can I establish an anonymous fund?

Yes, all gifts and grants can remain anonymous.

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Where can I find nonprofit organizations in Middle Tennessee, learn about their mission, and donate directly?

Visit www.GivingMatters.com, an online initiative of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, to find, learn and give to more than 1,300 local nonprofits.

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Where can I find information about local arts and entertainment events in Nashville and Middle Tennessee?

Visit www.NowPlayingNashville.com, an online initiative of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, to find out Where to go … What to do, and to experience the depth and breadth of arts and entertainment options in our community.