Frequently Asked Questions
The Rockland Community Foundation (RCF) connects people and businesses with the causes that matter most to them, through the establishment of funds that donors create and the RCF stewards. Over 700 community foundations exist throughout the United States as ways to support local charitable giving. Accountability, transparency and responsible stewardship are hallmarks of all community foundations, including RCF.
For donors, RCF represents a simple and effective vehicle for giving that combines maximum tax savings with maximum flexibility and the opportunity to make a philanthropic impact in our community. As a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, donations to the RCF are tax deductible.
For recipients, RCF represents a source of grants for charitable organizations, teachers and community concerns, as well as scholarships for deserving students.
RCF does not support one single organization but rather the broadest range of charitable concerns in the County and beyond. Our portfolio of funds is determined by the charitable goals of the donors who establish them.
The advantages are many:
First, RCF enables donors to determine how their monies are dispersed. Donors choose the type of fund they wish to establish and decide the degree to which they are involved in its disbursement.
Second, RCF funds can serve a wider need base than would be served by a specific charity. For example, if a donor wishes to establish a fund to support families in need and accepts grant applications, any number of qualified charities can apply for a grant from that fund. Applications are evaluated and award decisions are made according to how well the request aligns to the parameters established by the fund.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, RCF funds are sustainable. They will continue to benefit our community for many lifetimes. All donations to RCF funds are invested, and only a portion of the income is spent, ensuring that donations grow in perpetuity. In short, RCF funds build long-term support that improve the lives of people in our community and ensure a donor’s gift lives on for many years to come.
The Foundation offers a wide array of fund types to address virtually all charitable goals including:
Donor Advised Funds – for donors interested in being active and involved in recommending grants to non-profit organizations or for charitable projects. This is an extremely cost-effective alternative to creating and maintaining a private foundation or another non-profit organization.
Field of Interest Funds – for donors interested in supporting particular areas of interest, specific programs, causes or geographic areas within Rockland County. This type of fund can also be started to support the interests of someone you wish to honor or memorialize.
Agency Funds for Non-Profits –This fund is for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that want the RCF to provide fund management on their behalf and/or that want to maximize asset growth for current or future needs. This type of fund can also be used to support a specific project of that non-profit, creating confidence among donors that their donations are applied directly to a specific project. In addition, non-profits may establish a fund for the flexibility in the types of contributions (e.g. stocks, real estate) RCF accepts and for the increased visibility of RCF’s marketing efforts.
Scholarship Funds – for donors who want to establish to benefit students at any education level, field of study or other specific criteria, and these funds can be established to honor or memorialize a loved one.
Project Funds– for individuals or groups who want to avoid the time and expense of establishing a separate 501(c)(3) organization, these funds serve in lieu of them. These funds can also be set up by organizations who are in the process of filing for 501(c)(3) status and wish to begin accepting donations for their cause.
Event Funds– are set up for many different types of special events such as Golf Outings, Walk-a-Thons, Gala Dinners and the like. The benefit of establishing an Event Fund is to accept donations, help manage acknowledgement letters, sponsorships and other administrative tasks. In addition, event funds allow businesses that host special events that benefit nonprofits to come under RCF’s non-profit umbrella which, in turn, permits their event donors’ donations to be tax-deductible.
All RCF funds, including memorial funds are publicized through a listing in the RCF annual report on the RCF website and other marketing vehicles.
Community foundations such as RCF put philanthropy within reach for all of us, not just for our wealthiest neighbors.
The minimum requirement to establish a new fund varies. A donor advised fund or field of interest fund can be established for as little $5,000 and may be paid over a period of years. All other funds typically require a $1,000 initial contribution. All funds must maintain minimum balances. For more information, please see the Terms and Definitions document or contact the Rockland Community Foundation directly.
If establishing a fund is not in your plans at this time, the RCF always accepts donations to existing funds, and there is no minimum requirement to donate to an existing fund.
Quite the opposite. RCF believes that the act of giving should be simple, joyous and uncomplicated, without being encumbered by the burden of time-consuming administrative tasks. As such, RCF is structured to handle the administrative work for our donors, with experienced financial and legal advisors who can assist donors in building a legacy that lasts far into the future, with tax benefits donors can take advantage of now.
Investments are made according to the Foundation’s Investment policy, which contains board approved guidelines. RCF’s primary strategy is preservation of capital. Investments are managed by the Finance Committee, which is chaired by a professional investment advisor from the RCF Board. The Finance Committee also uses the professional services of a respected outside brokerage company.
Donations can take the form of cash, appreciated stock, bonds or other securities, property, etc. Donations to the fund can also be bequeathed or established as a family trust.
RCF welcomes the opportunity to help foster charitable giving. We routinely meet with individuals, families, businesses, schools, elected officials and charitable organizations and would be happy to send a representative to present to your group to discuss how we can help foster your philanthropic goals.