FAQs 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 $5,000. 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?


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.