FAQs

For Fundholders

How can I make a grant recommendation from my fund?

Donor advisors may recommend a grant electronically.   Or, alternatively, a Recommend A Grant Form (pdf ) may be downloaded, printed, completed, signed and  returned to the Foundation Office by mail ~ PO Box 1352, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 or, in person ~ 640 Mullis Street, Suite 104, Friday Harbor. (360) 378-1001.  If preferred, call the office and we will be happy to supply you with this form.

How are grant recommendations approved?

All grant recommendations are reviewed by the Foundation Grants Committee on a monthly basis. Grant recommendations are reviewed for compliance with the terms of the donor’s Fund and qualification of the proposed grantee. By Foundation policy, verified grant requests under $5,000 may be awarded by the Grants Committee while recommendations over $5,000 are passed to the full Foundation Board for approval.   The full Board meets quarterly. Expedited processing of a grant is possible and usually entails an additional fee. The minimum expedited time is two weeks.  

How long does it take before a grant check is issued?

Grant checks are usually issued within 7 days of approval (see previous question on approval). Expedited service can be arranged and will entail an extra one-time fee due to the additional out-of-cycle administrative overhead.

What assets can I give to the Foundation?

A wide variety of assets can be gifted to the Foundation. In general, any asset that can be converted to cash (a Foundation policy requirement) can be gifted. The simplest are: cash, credit card, stocks & bonds. Refer to Transfer Assets for further information. Please call the office at (360) 378-1001 for instructions.

How do I transfer stocks or bonds to the Foundation?

Stocks and bond gifts should be transferred as specified in the instructions on the “Transfer Assets” page. It is important to call the office at (360) 378-1001 to notify the Foundation before executing an electronic transfer.

Can I use my fund to buy a ticket to a charity event?

No. Since the donor would be receiving a benefit using tax advantaged gifts, the IRS prohibits this use.

Can I recommend that grants be made anonymously?

Yes. One of the common uses of a donor advised fund is to protect anonymity. Confidentiality is paramount to the work of the Foundation.

How current is my fund balance?

The SJICF website permits donors to login and see their last quarterly statement. Internal fund balances are kept monthly and can be accessed by phoning the office at (360) 378-1001. It may take a day or two to respond to such a request.

When are administrative fees assessed?

Administrative fees are applied monthly on the current fund balance based upon the annualized rate.

How soon are my donations/contributions posted to my account?

Donations are usually processed within 72 hours depending on the form of asset gifted.

How often is my account statement issued?

Account statements are issued on a quarterly basis, usually within two weeks of the end of the previous quarter.

For Grant Applicants

Is there a grant application form?

Yes.  You can download the Grant Application Form directly from the website, or from the office at (360) 378-1001.

When can we apply for a grant?

A  meeting with Foundation representatives is required before a grant application is submitted.  Please call the office at (360) 378-1001 to request a “pre-grant application 1-on-1 meeting”.

Why is a meeting with a Foundation representative required before I submit a grant application?

We have found that an early meeting to discuss your project/program significantly helps both the applicant and the Foundation come to a common understanding of the parameters underlying a grant request and funding possibilities. An overwhelming number of positive reports have been received regarding the value of these meetings which often creatively open up new directions and funding possibilities for an organization.

What are the steps to apply for a grant?

In summary and in approximate sequence:
  • On-line (and up-to date) registration of your organization
  • Pre-grant submission meeting(s) with Foundation representative(s)
  • Submission of the grant application
  • Initial review by Foundation Grants Committee
  • Possible additional questions for the applicant that may require refinement of project/program
  • Grant is "Approved for Fund Development" or, "Denied"
If your application is  "Approved for Fund Development":
    • An Internal review of funding options is conducted by our Fund Development Committee with
      • Possible award from existing internal discretionary funds (rare) or,
      • Active fund raising using many tools including personal meetings with donors, our website, newsletters etc...
    • Regular contact with you for updates on project planning, partner funding, changes in conditions etc...
    • Award(s) (full or partial) and Contract Agreement
    • Project reports to be filed as specified in the award contract

What might be covered during the in-person, pre-application meeting?

The in-person, pre-grant application review will consider some of the following:
  • Leadership. Does your project offer an opportunity to develop community leadership or expand civic involvement?
  • Purpose. Does your project reflect the purpose of the grant program for which you are applying?
  • Impact. To what extent might your project make a lasting and significant difference in the quality of life for San Juan Islanders?
  • Strategy. Does your project address current or emerging community needs or opportunities?
  • Capacity. Does your organization have the resources and leadership to ensure project success?
  • Leverage. Can you show that additional funds, partners etc… are (or have been) involved?
  • Inclusiveness. Are any underserved segments of the community reached by your proposal? Is diversity promoted? How are the stakeholders for this project included?
  • Sustainability. Is the project designed to become self-sustaining and when? Projects requiring unending philanthropy are discouraged. Exceptions apply.
  • Goals. Can you explain what ‘success’ will look like and how will it be measured?
  • Design. Is your project designed in a clear, thoughtful, reasonable manner?
And, is there a sound business plan to support your goals?

What is the process to submit a grant application?

Grant Applications are downloadable and are submitted in writing. Applications may be submitted at anytime following the required online registration and the pre-submission 1:1 meeting with Foundation representatives.  

What is the Foundation’s grant review process?

In summary and in approximate sequence:
  • Online (and up-to-date) registration of your organization;
  • Pre-submission 1-on-1 meeting(s) with Foundation representatives;
  • Submission of application in writing;
  • Initial review by Grants Committee;
  • Possible follow-up Q & A and revisions;
  • Potential refinement of program/project;
  • Grant request is either approved for “fund development” or denied;

How long before we are funded?

Once a grant application has been “Approved for Fund Development” the Foundation’s Fund Development committee starts its work to research sources of funds for the project. These may include existing Foundation discretionary funds, Donor Advised Funds and/or public fundraising through our website (“Giving Center”) and/or our newsletter. The process is very hands-on since almost all funding for a project comes from “new sources” and involves a significant effort of time and energy. The minimum time before first partial funding is typically 3 months but often can extend over years for large projects. The timeline will be discussed in the follow up meetings with the Grants Committee.

I noticed that the Foundation requires partner funding. Please explain.

After years of reviewing and awarding grants the Foundation has determined that including other granting agencies in the project funding process adds significant benefits, including better project review, broader community awareness and advocacy and ultimately more money and support for your projects. There are exceptions but partner funding will be a critical component of each required, pre-submission meeting including careful identification of the resources that will be allocated by the applying organization itself.

Is there a minimum/maximum amount that my organization can apply for?

You may apply for full or partial funding of the project.

Can my organization apply for more than one project/item/event within one grant application?

Yes, but those requests should be consistent with the general intent of the grant request. For example, an organization could apply for funding for office equipment, training seminars, and capital improvements if they are all related to the same project. However, if your organization is requesting money for several projects that are unrelated to each other, then we request submission of separate grant applications for each project.  

The Foundation is also looking to fund sustainable projects. What does that really mean?

The Foundation has determined that in many cases, donors and projects are best served when the project is designed from the beginning to become self-sustaining financially over a few years. Notable exceptions are often those providing basic social services to financially challenged clients. The concept of self-sustainability will be covered in depth in the pre-grant application 1-on-1 meeting.

Do we have to be a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization to apply?

The Foundation only gives grants to tax-exempt organizations which include 501(c)(3)s, local non-profit branches of 501(c)(1)s, government agencies, non-profit schools and religious organizations (but only for non-religious purposes).  

Do you give grants to organizations outside of San Juan Island?

Donor Advised fundholders may request a distribution to go anywhere in the world as long as it meets the IRS charitable organization criteria. Foundation grants, by policy, are targeted to the local community and would usually only be given to an outside nonprofit for work that affected the local community. The ultimate authority on grants lies with the Foundation Board.

Can a school apply for a grant?

Yes if the school is a nonprofit. Scholarships (for the benefit of a named individual) are only awarded to the school or college for further distribution.  

Does the Foundation fund faith-based organizations?

Yes, but only for non-religious and unrestricted public service projects.  

Can I meet with someone at the Foundation before submitting an application?

Yes, in fact it is required.  

Can I get help completing the application?

Yes. Contact the office at (360) 378-1001.  

What size grant does the Foundation generally make?

Grants vary tremendously with the project. Amounts need to be justified using a financial and business planning approach and will be carefully scrutinized. To date, the range has been $500 to $10 Million.  

How often can we apply to the Foundation?

There is no restriction but the Foundation would expect multiple requests for funding to each fit into a well articulated long-range plan.

What are Reporting Requirements?

Every organization that receives a grant is required to report on the results and use of the funds by submitting a Grant Reporting Form within one year of receipt. Additionally, it is important to acknowledge receipt of the grant award in writing. A letter to the editor is a welcomed next step. Letters should be sent directly to the newspaper(s) and you can send the Community Foundation a copy of your letter. Public awareness benefits everyone. Your acknowledgment and thank you letter will be shared with your program donor when applicable. Follow up and financial reporting is one of the ways we distinguish the Foundation from other organizations and is of primary importance. Organizations not in compliance will not be eligible for further funding support unless their reporting is up to date.

May I use the Foundation’s name or logo in our press releases or brochures?

The Foundation requires that any organization using its name submit a draft for review before release. The Foundation logo is not available for use. Please call (360) 378-1001 for further details.  

Is this site secure?

Standard, industry accepted methods are used to ensure website security. Online donations are made through PayPal which uses its standard measures to ensure account information security. While the Foundation will continue to adhere to industry standards for online access, we cannot ultimately guarantee total security. We are prepared to make special off-line arrangements with any donor who is uncomfortable with online access.  

For Nonprofit Organizations

Who is eligible to receive a grant?

The Foundation only gives grants to tax-exempt organizations which include 501(c)(3)s, local non-profit branches of 501(c)(1)s, government agencies, non-profit schools and religious organizations (but only for non-religious purposes). Applicants must hold, and maintain in good standing, their 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designation by complying with IRS regulations and in particular filing the appropriate annual IRS financial reporting forms. Organizations that have applied for non-profit status, but have not yet received confirmation, may still apply for a grant with the understanding that usually grants cannot be distributed until 501(c)(3) status is active.

Do we have to register with the Foundation to be considered for a grant?

Yes. Any organization that wishes to submit a grant application must be registered online with the Foundation. Call (360) 378-1001 to get started, or send us an email at info@sjicf.org.

How does our organization register with the Foundation?

The process to register your organization profile is initiated by a phone call to the office at (360) 378-1001 to obtain a nonprofit login account and to set up a 15 minute appointment to walk through the data entering process. The organization profile must be updated as needed and, at least annually by your organization.

What information is needed to register electronically?

The following information is necessary to complete the required electronic profile:
  1. The organization's name (as filed with the IRS) and the common name, (if different);
  2. Various contact information including a list of Board members and current staff;
  3. The organization mission and description;
  4. The date of the most recently filed IRS Form 990 and which 990 form was filed;
  5. Last years 990 form;
  6. The IRS Letter of Determination of non profit 501c(3) or 501c(1) status.
Click here if you would like to view a profile form.

Who can see our nonprofit profile?

A portion of the profile (as indicated on the form) is made available to the public through the Foundation website and a portion is confidential to your organization and the Community Foundation. Please call the office at (360) 378-1001 for further details on the use of profile information.

How secure is our profile?

The “private portion” of your nonprofit profile may only be viewed by you and the Foundation under password protection. The Foundation uses industry standard methods to secure information.

How can I make changes to my organization’s profile?

You can update your organization’s profile online as needed by logging onto sjicf.org and entering your username and password.  Please understand that we request that every registered organization review its profile on an annual basis.

Will every approved grant application be posted on the Foundations website for receipt of online donations?

No. When appropriate, this option will be discussed with the organization and projects will only be posted with mutual agreement.  

When and how do we receive money donated on the Foundation’s website?

When a grant request is approved for fund development and is selected to appear on the Foundation website (under “Giving Center’), an account will set up internally in the Foundation to receive online donations from the public as well as grant distribution requests from Foundation fund holders. All monies collected initially become the property of the Foundation and, for grants under $5000, are distributed to the grantee organization by vote of the Foundation Grants Committee. Grants over $5000 are voted on by the Foundation Board of Directors. Donations are aggregated for distribution and checks are issued after Foundation grant approval. Both the Grants Committee and the full Board meet quarterly.

What is not funded?

  • Projects that benefit individuals directly.
  • Religious organizations (where the funds would be used to further the organization’s religious purpose).
  • Political organizations.
  • Any group that discriminates as to race, creed, ethnic group, or gender.
  • Travel, conferences or any form of direct financial assistance to individuals.
  • Association dues.
  • Budget shortfalls or debt retirement.
  • Fund raising event costs.
 

For Professional Advisors

What services do you provide for me and my clients?

An entire section of our website is dedicated to this answer; please refer to “For Professional Advisors”.

What information can I give my clients about the Foundation?

Available for download, are a variety of reports and brochures covering the Community Foundation’s work and finances. We suggest starting with an introduction to our website, read our Annual Reports and Newsletters and then make a joint appointment for you, your client and a member of the Foundation Executive Team at (360) 378-1001.

What are your most popular funds?

For personalized control our Donor Advised Funds are the vehicle of choice. For broad giving our Healthy Community Fund is the most popular. These funds are carefully managed to support the most critical causes in our community.

Why shouldn’t my client give directly to the organization(s) they wish to support?

The Community Foundation offers unparalleled knowledge of community issues and nonprofits and our philanthropic expertise can help your client make the most of every dollar donated. Our broad range of financial vehicles, asset types and fund types make it easy to make a contribution or to set up a fund. In some cases, these options also provide tax advantages.

As a financial advisor, can I consult with the Foundation Executive Team?

Yes, most certainly. We encourage ongoing conversations to discuss how we may be of service to you and your clients. With an all-volunteer board, consultations are always free of charge.

Why should my client establish a fund rather than create a private foundation?

A Donor Advised Fund provides all of the control and flexibility that most donors require along with vastly decreased administrative overhead and costs. Setting up a fund through the Community Foundation often can provide enhanced tax benefits as well. Please see “Simple Alternative to Private Foundations”.

My client would like to terminate a private foundation. Can you help?

Yes. It is common for family foundations to convert to a community foundation donor advised fund in order to reduce costs and administrative overhead while taking advantage of the community foundation’s grantmaking expertise. Please call the Community Foundation’s Executive Team at (360) 378-1001 for an appointment.

How can the Foundation help my client with the charitable aspects (legacy) of their estate plans?

The Foundation provides a variety of planning and execution services that may help you and your client optimize an estate plan for maximum impact in the community. Please visit the Estate & Legacy Planning page.

Can the Foundation serve as a trustee of my client’s charitable remainder trust or charitable lead trust?

Yes. The Foundation would be pleased to serve as the trustee to your trust that includes the Foundation as the beneficiary.

For Prospective Fundholders

What funds are available at the Foundation?

A wide variety of fund types are available which are suited to many donors:
  • Donor Advised Funds - The leading type giving the donor the most control of the eventual disposition of funds.
  • Designated Funds – Specified distributions over time to specific oranizations
  • Scholarship Funds – Can be customized to your selection criteria but must be made widely available to prevent any conflict of interest.
  • Legacy Funds – Which execute your final wishes using specific desires that you establish
  • Community Funds – Which broadly help our community. These can be be targeted to specific areas-of-interest.
Many funds already exist at the Foundation that might already fit your needs. You can also make a gift to an established Fund and receive the same tax advantages and recognition that starting your own fund would provide.

What is your most popular fund?

Personalized Donor Advised Funds and the broadly based Healthy Community Fund are the most popular.

How long does it take to open a fund?

New funds can be processed immediately but need to be approved by the Board of Directors. The Board meets quarterly and often there is an electronic vote of the Board in the middle of the quarter.

How much control will I have in recommending gifts to charities?

Donor Advised Funds provide the most control for a donor who may make recommendations to the Foundation for a grant. Other funds are designed to give the Board of the Foundation greater discretion in allocating funds to where they are needed most. A call to the Foundation executive team will provide the most detailed advice on what fund types will best suit your needs.

Is there a minimum amount to set up a fund?

The usual minimum is $10,000. If this is not possible please call the Foundation for a consultation with the Executive Team.

How can I contribute to my fund?

You may contribute a wide variety of assets to your fund. Cash (checks or EFTs), stocks and bonds (usually through electronic transfer) are the usual assets that we receive. Please notify the Foundation to expect a gift using the on-line form found under “Manage Your Account” and following the directions specified under “Transfer Assets”.  For other assets, such as real estate, real property, IRA Rollovers, Life Insurance benefits and Testamentary Gifts please call the Foundation at (360) 378-1001 for a consultation with our Executive Team.

What does “endowed” mean?

Endowed funds place a restriction on the use of the principle and within certain restrictions allow only payouts of the earnings. Since earnings vary, the annual payout is dictated by the Foundation’s spending policy which is set and reviewed annually to try to ensure preservation of the principle of endowed funds.

Are all funds at the Foundation endowed?

No, in fact most are not. Many Funds are set up with unrestricted use of both earnings and principle. The choice is made by the donor at the time the fund is created.

How are the Foundation’s assets managed?

The Foundation pools its fund assets for investment. Assets are held by a fiduciary agent and are invested according to a Board approved investment policy. An outside investment manager handles the day to day portfolio under criteria set by the Board. The investment policy emphasizes a conservative approach for preservation of capital using a balance of standard equities and bonds. High risk investments are avoided.

Can I specify how my fund’s assets are invested?

All funds are pooled for investment and therefore, individual fund investment options are not available.  

Is there a charge to set up a new fund?

No.

What are the fees applied to a fund?

Fees include two components: An investment management fee which is passed through from the Foundation’s professional fund advisors (a fraction of 1%) and an administrative fee to cover the Foundation’s work in managing your fund. Administrative fees are specified in the current “SJICF Fund Administrative Fee Schedule” which is available upon request. Please call (360) 378-1001.

I see that the Foundation has a “Spending Policy”, what does that mean?

A spending policy applies only to endowed funds and specifies the annual payout rate that is predicted to ensure preservation of principle. The policy is reviewed annually and is set in conjunction with the policy determined by The Seattle Foundation. The spending policy is available upon request: call 378-1001. Non-endowed funds may request allocations that include both principle and earnings.

Can I make a charitable rollover with my IRA?

Yes. If you are aged 70½ or older you may make an IRA rollover gift to a Foundation fund (not a Donor Advised Fund) of up to $100,000 tax free. Please call the office for assistance at (360) 378-1001.

Are third-party contributions to my Donor Advised Fund tax deductible?

Yes. Anyone can contribute to your Donor Advised Fund and receive a tax deduction. We request you consult with your tax professional to confirm your particular situation.

General

What is a community foundation?

A community foundation is a tax-exempt public charity that serves broad charitable purposes in a community defined geographically.  Community foundations serve to connect donors with charitable projects by providing indepth competitive review of those projects to maximize the impact of donor gifts. Community Foundations also serve as umbrella organizations by working with all of the specific nonprofits in a community by providing grants, organizational development assistance and administrative and project development help.  Community foundations continuously monitor the broad critical needs of a community and often undertake direct initiatives to answer those needs. Community foundations work by creating and managing a wide variety of Foundation Funds that can provide significant tax advantages to donors and offer a planned, researched and organized approach to a lifetime of giving.  The funds managed by a community foundation consist of a collection of funds from many different donors rather than from a single donor, as is usually the case with a private foundation. Community foundations work with all volunteer boards supplemented by staff.  With extremely low administrative overhead, our community foundation maximizes the amount of funds that get directly to the project budget. There are more than 700 community foundations across the United States, with combined assets of about $35 billion.

How does the Foundation invest its funds?

The Foundation pools its funds based upon duration. The primary SJICF Foundation Fund is invested for a long term return. Foundation funds are held with a fiduciary agent (currently Union Bank) and invested according to a Board approved investment policy. The Foundation Finance Committee regularly reviews performance and develops investment policies that are ultimately passed by the Board.

Is this site secure?

Standard, industry accepted methods are used to ensure website security. Online donations are made through PayPal which uses its standard measures to ensure account information security. While the Foundation will continue to adhere to industry standards for online access, we cannot ultimately guarantee total security. We are prepared to make special off-line arrangements with any donor who is uncomfortable with online access.

Are there fees on contributions?

A fee applies to online credit card donations. The Foundation uses PayPal. There is also a small Foundation administrative fee on all donations. Contributions received by mail do not incur the credit card fee. Please contact the office at (360) 378-1001 for the current fee schedule.

Scholarships

What types of Scholarships are available?

A variety of scholarship funds have been established at the Foundation.
  • Inskeep Scholarship – For San Juan Island high school graduates who demonstrate significant need and an ability to succeed to attend college or university.
  • John Volk Memorial Scholarship – For individuals who demonstrate a dedication to community service and wish to pursue a career in aviation or aviation related services.
  • SJICF Scholarship  - For San Juan Island residents to attend an accredited community college, two-year college, four-year college or university, graduate school program, or vocational/career program.

How do I know if I am eligible for a scholarship?

The Foundation offers several different scholarship programs. Each program its own criteria.  Please review the selection criteria for the scholarship program to which you plan to apply.

What if I’m planning to attend a vocational school?

Certain scholarship programs are targeted to career paths and you are encouraged to call us at (360) 378-1001 to get more information.

What expenses does a scholarship cover?

A scholarship may be used to pay for tuition, lab fees and required text materials.  It may not be applied to transportation or housing costs.

How is a scholarship paid?

Scholarship awards are always paid to the educational institution on behalf of the named recipient.  Any unused portion will be returned to the Foundation. No awards will be made directly to students or their families.

When can I apply for a scholarship?

Anytime.  Applications for college programs are usually reviewed in the spring. Other applications are considered throughout the year.

How can I apply?

The availability of scholarships is advertised locally.  Applications can be downloaded from the Foundation website or picked up at the San Juan Island Community Foundation Office, 640 Mullis, Suite 104, Friday Harbor, WA.  You may also call the Foundation office, 378-1001.

How are recipients selected?

Recipients are selected based upon a fully completed application that is submitted by the specified deadline. Interviews will be arranged and additional information may be requested before the review committee makes its decision. The number of applicants always exceeds the number of available awards. Not all applicants will receive funding.

When will I know if I have been selected?

The date of notification depends on the type of scholarship. Please call the office at (360) 378-1001 for information about your specific application.

Are scholarships renewable?

If you maintain good academic standing and continue to meet the scholarship criteria, you may reapply for additional funds at the end of each grant period. However, continued funding is never guaranteed.

http://sjicf.org/wp-content/themes/platform