For donors with significant charitable assets, a Signature Fund is a great alternative to a private foundation. It offers the name recognition of a private foundation, along with the privacy, flexibility and tax advantages of a donor-advised fund.
Signature Funds combine many features of a private foundation – such as independent identity and enhanced investment options – with all the benefits that donor advisors currently enjoy, including tax advantages, minimum administrative requirements, online access and a high level of personal service.
How It Works
Identify: You may select the name of your Signature Fund within the Community Foundation. A grant from a Signature Fund may use the word “Foundation” in its name with limited reference to the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. Customized stationery is used for all grant correspondence, and checks bear the Signature Fund name.
Investment Options: Your foundation or fund’s assets can be invested in one of three portfolios to match your investment goals and grantmaking intentions, and the allocation can be changed annually. You may also elect to maintain the investment managed by your current financial advisor.
Expertise: Signature Funds offer a high level of customized philanthropic support, including a variety of ways to help donors and their families accomplish their unique charitable goals. The program staff of the Community Foundation will meet with you to learn your charitable goals and suggest appropriate giving opportunities based upon their decades of experience working with charities in our community.
Grantmaking Flexibility: Signature Funds have flexibility to make grants when it is strategic and convenient for the donor. In contrast, private foundations are required to distribute a percent of assets annually. Signature Funds also provide the opportunity to defer and streamline all charitable requests into the Community Foundation. The Community Foundation can employ a competitive process to evaluate grant requests for your consideration. This will allow you to make charitable decisions at one point-in-time after undertaking a formal review process.
Family Involvement: Family members may act as advisors to your Signature Fund. The Community Foundation will provide resources and training to successfully transition family members into meaningful involvement in your fund to further the family’s philanthropic goals.
Simplified Administration: As a fund within the Community Foundation, your Signature Fund is not required to file Form 990-PF. The Community Foundation prepares consolidated forms required annually and the contents of the form must be disclosed to the public and are also published online with the names of donors redacted.
- Personalized attention for each donor
- Community Foundation staff may serve as a cushion for charitable requests
- Grant due diligence
- Grantmaking throughout the United States
- Online grantmaking (allows for ongoing charitable giving throughout the year as directed by the donor)
- Community Foundation staff requests grant submissions and employs a formal review process to recommend grant recipients
- Strategic grant requests for proposals
- Grant outcomes/evaluation reports
- Personalized site visits
Information and Education Services
- Exclusive donor events
- Annual family philanthropy events
- Community needs/opportunities expertise
- Newsletters featuring grantmaking opportunities
- One-page snapshots of local programs/projects that match your specific areas of interest
- Honor charitable intent forever
- Gift planning consultation with planned giving professional
- Two generations of advisors
- Engage successor advisors
- Assistance in involving next generation
- Coordinate annual family meeting
- Multigenerational philanthropy plan
- Unique letterhead
- Community Foundation investment options (Endowment, ESG, Moderate, Conservative pools)
- Maintain the investment management with your current financial advisor
- Access to online statements