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Donor Fund Options

The Foundation for Northwest Illinois

Donors make no restrictions on the use of gifts to this fund, and gifts of all sizes are accepted and welcomed. The flexibility of an unrestricted gift enables the Foundation’s leadership to respond to the community’s most important needs. Investment income earned on the fund is used to address urgent, changing or future needs that often cannot be anticipated at the time the gift is made. Our unrestricted fund, the Marvin Wilson Community Needs Fund, also receives gifts as tributes, memorials and to honor people on a variety of special occasions (anniversaries, birthdays, etc.).

Donors specify a field of interest, targeting their gift to address the needs in an important area of community life. Fields of interest could include the arts, education, economic development, environment, health, youth services or historic preservation. The Foundation awards grants based on the donor’s and the Foundation’s criteria. A field of interest fund can be established by an individual or a group, or perhaps a business that wants to support the community in a special area. Small gifts can be pooled and contributions to the fund are on-going.

Donors select specific organizations to support, such as a church, school, senior services, museum, or virtually any nonprofit charitable organization they care about. The Foundation manages the annual distribution of funds according to the donor’s wishes, and the designated recipient(s) can rely on receiving an annual, long-term distribution from the fund.

Donors who want to support a variety of organizations from year-to-year may find this an excellent way to accomplish their giving goals. Earnings from this fund are granted to organizations as recommended annually by the donor. Donors can actively participate in making grants, or appoint an advisor to recommend charitable organizations to receive grants from the Fund. Donor intent is highly respected.

An Acorn Fund allows an individual, family, or group to begin their philanthropic journey without a large initial gift. Donors can begin with $1,000 and a commitment to contribute the remaining $9,000 within four years. When the $10,000 contribution amount is reached, the fund can be formally named for its intended purpose and grants from the earnings can begin to be distributed.

A pass-through fund creates a pool of capital that may be allocated over a period of time. The Foundation handles the administration of the fund and then disburses from it according to the donor’s wishes. Organizations that have specific projects in mind, or are not yet ready to establish a permanent fund, find this kind of fund very convenient. It provides an opportunity for a donor to get acquainted with the Foundation and test the services before making a permanent commitment. With a pass-through fund, the donor benefits from the Foundation’s neutrality, 501(c)(3) status, knowledge of the community, and the credibility of being associated with a community foundation.

Donors may honor the memory of those who have passed on or may recognize a person still living. Memorial and recognition gifts need not necessarily be endowed funds. A simple and direct contribution to our unrestricted fund may be an excellent way for donors to recognize others while supporting the Community Foundation.