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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Community Foundation?

Community Foundations are locally run foundations that build and manage endowment funds to support charitable activities in their area. Each community foundation is autonomous and governed by a local volunteer board.

What do Community Foundations do?

Community foundations provide donors with a lasting way to make a difference in their community by building donations through endowment funds. Foundations also provide grants to community organizations and act as community conveners and leaders.

Is a Community Foundation different than other charities?

Yes. A community Foundation is a charity that helps other charities – we are a resource for them. Instead of providing charitable services, community foundations provide support through grants and leadership to a wide range of charities. We link donors with a wide range of community organizations and encourage gifts to all kinds of causes and charities.

What is an Endowment Fund?

An endowment fund is a type of investment fund that is established by a donor to provide ongoing financial support to a charitable organization. The original donation (principal) is never spent, it is invested. The annual investment income is used to support the organization’s charitable purposed – either at the direction of the donor to charities they designate of the donor to charities they designate or through a grant-making process.

How are the endowments managed?

Responsibility for the Foundation’s investment portfolio is overseen by the Board of Directors with the guidance of the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee works closely with professional staff and investment advisors to recommend policies, establish performance benchmarks, and monitor the performance of the portfolio. Our current investment firm is Leith Wheeler. Endowment funds are typically managed with a long-term perspective to ensure their sustainability over time.

Why choose to donate to an Endowment?

Establishing an endowment at CFSEA is free of charge and allows donors to support Southeastern Alberta’s needs in a lasting way that matches the donor’s wishes. There are considerable tax benefits for individuals who donate to an Endowment Fund.

What kinds of gifts does the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta accept?

Many kinds of gifts can build endowments. Among the choices are: cash, bequests, life insurance policy, retirement funds, stocks, bonds, appreciated securities, and real estate. We can help you choose the kind of gift that best suits your situation. You can choose to give a contribution today or make a future gift in your estate plans.

How do I establish a fund?

The first step in this process is to contact us and begin the conversation. It entails choosing a name for your fund, choosing the type of fund and/or charity(s) to impact, completing a fund agreement, and then making your gift to The Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta. The minimum amount to establish a fund varies according to the type of fund the donor wishes to establish. Visit Endowment Funds Explained to view a list of fund options and gift amounts.

Is there a minimum donation to establish a fund?

A gift of any amount can be made to a fund that is already established. We accept any amount; however, a $25 donation is required to receive a tax receipt.

How are the grants distributed?

Grants are distributed annually based on the donor’s original intent. Some funds have named the charitable organization that will receive the annual grants, while some grants are determined annually by the donor advisor, and some donors have chosen to delegate the funds to the community’s greatest needs through our Community Grants program. In this case, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta accepts applications for these funds. The Grants Committee reviews applications and makes recommendations for the board for final approval.

What are the Rural Community Funds?

We have four rural community funds serving our entire Southeastern Alberta region including the Brooks and District Community Fund, the Prairie Crocus Community Fund, the Rural Community Fund of Forty Mile, and the Cypress County Community Fund. These are permanent endowment funds that were established by local residents and enable the community to ‘give where you live’. Community members donate to the Community Fund in their region to create and grow a permanent endowment. Funds are then granted to local charities through the direction of local Advisory Committees.

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