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5 Key Differences: Community Foundation Fund vs. Commercial Gift Fund

What’s the difference between opening a community foundation fund versus a commercial gift fund?

The simple answer is donor-advised funds at community foundations, like the Coastal Georgia Foundation, provide philanthropists with opportunities to strengthen your community and maximize the impact of your charitable giving in ways that commercial gift funds at firms cannot.



Here are five reasons to consider opening a donor-advised fund at a community foundation versus a commercial firm:

1. Keep your giving local.

Many donors I speak to prefer to keep their giving local and to support multiple nonprofit organizations. Community foundation staff have deep community insight and local charitable giving expertise to simplify your giving. At the Coastal Georgia Foundation, the majority of all recommended grants go to Coastal Georgia nonprofits. 

2. Concierge-level service.

While you may have access to online support at a commercial firm, you’re less likely to have a dedicated relationship manager to personally assist with your grantmaking. Community foundations understand your philanthropy is personal.

The Coastal Georgia Foundation staff is here to help donors with grantmaking needs and often meets with you in-person to discuss philanthropic strategies, including giving to nonprofits. Additionally, our staff have deep, long-standing relationships with the coastal nonprofit community and can provide research and information to better inform grant recommendations.

3. Opportunities to connect.

Interested in connecting with other like-minded local philanthropists? Community foundations typically host networking events and public convenings to discuss philanthropy and community challenges and opportunities.

4. Fees increase your charitable impact.

Administrative fees for some commercial funds may be lower, but they are not re-invested into the community. Fees at community foundations support the charitable mission of the charitable sponsor, as well as research, grantmaking, social impact programs, civic engagement and other efforts to improve quality of life in local communities.

Also, depending on your investment fund choice, Coastal Georgia Foundation may offer lower investment fees than commercial gift funds. 

5. Access to institutional investing.

A professionally-managed account at a financial services firm typically requires a minimum investment of $100,000. If you open a fund with less than $100,000, you’re likely limited to a retail fund offered by a parent company.

Not every philanthropist has $100,000 to open a donor-advised fund. Donor-advised funds at Coastal Georgia Foundation can be opened for $10,000.

At community foundations, you can access sophisticated institutional investing options by opening an endowed or non-endowed, donor-advised fund. The Coastal Georgia Foundation equips fund holders with a knowledgable investment committee and Investment Policies to maximize philanthropic dollars.