Frequently Asked Questions

How does a community foundation differ from a private foundation?
Community foundations derive assets from many donors rather than one, have broad charitable purposes and a demographically diverse, non-compensated Board of Directors. Because community foundations are a public charity, they receive more favorable tax treatment, do not pay excise taxes on income and have more flexibility in operating ability.

What is a permanent endowment?
In general, contributions made to a community foundation are not spent -- they are invested for growth. A percent of the fund's assets, averaged over 12 rolling quarters, are available for spending. As the corpus grows, so too does the amount available to grant.

How do I create a fund?
In most cases, creating a fund is as simple as defining your charitable intent, deciding on what type of assets and how much of these assets you would like to give and signing an agreement.
A gift of $10,000 or more, given over three years or less, will create a new fund. No grants may be made from endowment funds until the principal reaches $10,000.

To whom may the Foundation grant money?
Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations and, tax-exempt schools, churches and governmental entities.

To whom do the fund assets belong and under whose control is the distribution of funds?
Fund contributions become assets of the MMACF and, as such, are under the control of the Board of Directors. Fund distributions receive Board approval and, except in extraordinary circumstances, the principal of a permanently endowed fund is not invaded.

How does the Foundation secure operating funds?
The Foundation has an annual sponsorship drive as well as various fundraisers throughout the year. In addition, the Foundation charges administrative fees on all funds. The percentage is based on the type of fund, is computed annually and charged monthly.

How is the Foundation different from the United Way?
Both organizations are important to Marinette and Menominee counties. Some have described the differences by suggesting the United Way is more like the community’s checkbook, raising and distributing money annually, while the Foundation is more like a charitable savings account, distributing grants from long-term funds in perpetuity. Community foundations focus on attracting and managing permanent endowments. The United Way focuses on health and human services, while the Foundation’s scope of funding is broader and includes economic development, education, the environment, community betterment, the arts and culture, youth, as well as health and human services.