Fund Types and Structures

Whatever your charitable interests, the Foundation offers simple, flexible, and rewarding ways to give, whether it’s $10,000 or $110,000. Seven main fund types, designed to meet specific donor, nonprofit or community philanthropic needs, can be structured in three different ways to align with each fund’s size, time horizon and level of activity.

Fund Type vs. Fund Structure

What is a Fund Type?

Fund Type defines a fund’s purpose along with the overall process for disbursing grants and desired level of donor involvement. See below for the various Fund Type options.

What is a Fund Structure?

Fund Structure determines a fund’s applicable asset investment and associated administrative fees, if any, and is selected to match the envisioned life of the fund and frequency of distributions as closely as possible. See below for the various Fund Structure options.

Fund Types

Even if you know which organizations or causes you want to support, selecting an appropriate fund type can augment your efforts, increase your granting options and simplify your record keeping. Not so sure about the specifics? Don’t worry, we have fund types that work well for that too.

Affinity Funds

The Foundation can work with groups of non-related donors who share a common vision to create an affinity fund, providing an efficient vehicle to pool contributions and process grants. A form of collective impact philanthropy, affinity groups work collaboratively to recommend grants that reflect their agreed-upon goals.

Agency Funds

Agency funds are an ideal way to simplify and enhance your nonprofit organization’s asset management by leveraging the Foundation’s professional investment management, investment committee experience, and portfolio size. Nonprofits can participate in a modern endowment investment portfolio they would not be able to replicate on a stand-alone basis. Agency funds can provide your organization with a permanent source of operating income or professionally managed “rainy day” funds.

Award Funds

An award fund is a way to inspire and recognize excellence by awarding merit-based grants to individuals or organizations, based upon the fund holder’s goals. We can assist in developing the award criteria and selection process to maximize impact and ensure compliance with IRS rules.

Competitive Grant Funds

Increase the impact of your gift and put it to work solving our community’s most pressing problems, not just alleviating symptoms. Competitive grant applications are carefully vetted by our Grants Committee, and after thorough due diligence, grants are awarded based upon community need, impact, and organizational capacity. Gifts may be designated to specifically support certain areas, such as animals, arts & culture, human services, education, conservation & environment, civic engagement, or recreation.

Designated Funds

With a designated fund, you identify one or more qualified charities or projects as beneficiaries at the time the fund is created. Your gift can address either immediate or long-term needs. The Foundation handles asset management and disbursements to the designated beneficiaries, providing the desired level of support over the applicable time horizon.

Donor Advised Funds

A donor advised fund offers maximum granting flexibility with immediate tax benefits. You retain the ability to recommend grants to any qualified charity in the U.S., or even abroad, whenever you wish. We take care of grantee due diligence, payment processing and reporting. All the fun with none of the administration – what could be better? Not only do you maintain ongoing advisory involvement, you may also name your children, or others, as additional or successor advisors to your fund.

Scholarship Funds

Scholarship funds assist individuals in pursuing educational or professional goals and opportunities. Fundholders can join existing funds or start a new one, recommend scholarship guidelines, and participate in the selection process with the Community Foundation’s Scholarship Committee.

Fund Structures

After identifying the appropriate fund type to achieve your goals, a fund structure is subsequently selected to align with the anticipated size, activity level and life span of your fund. The fund structure determines the applicable administrative fees, if any, and how the fund’s assets are invested. Fundholders with fund assets in excess of $1 million may recommend an alternative investment advisor or manager for their funds.

Spend Down

With a spend down fund, gift principal is wholly available for granting. Income earned on these funds accrues to the benefit of the Community Foundation’s operating fund. No administrative fee is assessed, and there is no restriction on the number of grant requests. Spend down funds can be thought of as charitable checking accounts, where there is regular, ongoing grant activity.


Endowment funds provide stable, perennial financial support. An endowment operates similarly to a private foundation, yielding a set percentage for granting each year while eliminating administrative duties. You may recommend grant recipients or pass your charitable legacy to your children. Investment income accrues to the fund, and a quarterly administrative fee based on a percentage of assets supports the Foundation’s operations.

Investors Circle

Investors Circle funds offer fundholders the ability to participate in the investment returns of the Foundation’s portfolio. These funds may function like a Spend Down Fund or an Endowment Fund, depending on the needs of the fundholder, but are not formally endowed. Investment income accrues to the fund, and a quarterly administrative fee based on a percentage of assets supports the Foundation’s operations.

Have a Question?

Choosing the fund type and structure that best suit your goals is not always clear cut. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Foundation with questions. For more information or additional guidance, contact Karen Coleman at (307) 739-1026.

Contact Us