Getting Started

Your philanthropic journey begins here.

In It Together

We’re here to help you navigate your philanthropic journey every step of the way—working with you to make sure the entire experience is easy, effective, flexible and fulfilling. The result? A philanthropic journey that reflects your passion, and brings you joy. Let’s get started.

Ways to Give

At the Community Foundation, we understand that no two donors are alike. That’s why we’ve designed a variety of giving options to meet your unique circumstances. From outright contributions to donor-advised funds, or gifts from estate, deferred and life income gifts, there’s a giving strategy that’s ideal for your philanthropic desires.

And remember, because we’re a public charity, you get the maximum tax benefits when you donate to the Community Foundation. Here are some of the ways to give to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta:

As a donor, you can establish (and, of course, add to) any of the Foundation’s various types of funds by contributing assets during your lifetime. Current gifts generate the most beneficial charitable income tax deductions available under the law, while at the same time remove those assets from your estate for estate tax purposes. In other words, current gifts help you now, and help your family later.
The Community Foundation supports donors like you in your grantmaking today. And through planned gifts, we help you leave a charitable legacy. Our various planned giving options include bequests, gifts of life insurance, charitable lead trusts and gifts of retirement assets.

Brochure PDF
The Community Foundation is flexible in our ability to accept a wide variety of assets as charitable contributions. In addition to cash, we may accept:

  • Publicly traded stock
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds and other debt obligations
  • Real estate—including complete or partial interest in residential real estate, undeveloped land, commercial real estate
  • Privately held companies—including interests in C-corporations, LLCs, limited partnerships
  • Restricted stock/founder’s stock
  • Intangible and/or intellectual property
  • Private equity interests
  • Tangible property
  • Art
  • Other assets

Types of Funds

Variety means flexibility. And flexibility makes for smarter strategy. That’s why we offer you the ability to establish different types of funds to achieve your charitable goals. From the immediate tax benefits of donor-advised funds, to the long-term support of designated funds, the Community Foundation provides an array of philanthropic options. So your philanthropic journey is always sound and strategic.

In exchange for our services, the Community Foundation charges an annual administrative fee against the balance of your fund. Investment management fees are separate from our administrative fee and vary depending on the investment option you request. We don’t receive any fee revenue from the investment management of funds that we maintain.

If you’re passionate about tackling the big issues and giving to the greater good in the Atlanta region, but you’d rather not participate actively in grant recommendations, our Common Good Fund may be the right channel for you.

This fund is often the best choice for donors who wish to leave a legacy through their will or estate plan to benefit the greater Atlanta community, but who don’t have heirs they wish to involve in grantmaking decisions after their lifetime.

This option allows you to give back to the greater Atlanta community in general, rather than identifying a particular organization or cause as the grant recipient. A sustainable percentage of the fund’s balance (around 5 percent) is granted each year to charities in the metro area that are selected by a committee of community members and ratified by the governing Board of the Community Foundation. An unrestricted fund is a permanently directed fund named by or for you, the donor. And it’s a powerful, effective way to leave a permanent named legacy for the greater Atlanta area—a legacy that can adjust over time as the needs of the community change.

For unrestricted named funds, the annual administrative fee is tiered according to the following schedule:

• First $500,000               1.00%
• Next $500,000 – $5M     0.70%
• Next $5M – $20M           0.55%
• Next $20M +                  0.50%

Minimum Annual Fee

• $1,000 for standard funds invested in the Community Foundation’s investment vehicles (i.e., Unitized Pool, American Funds, Conservation Option)

Designated funds allow you to provide support to a specific nonprofit through a long-term or “term of years” gift. These fund types offer an excellent solution for donors who wish to create a long-term resource to provide continual benefit to one (or more) charitable organization(s), but who prefer not to give the entire amount directly to the charity at the outset or establish an endowment-type fund for multiple nonprofits. The Community Foundation invests designated funds so that a sustainable portion of the fund’s balance (typically around 5 percent) can be paid to continually support the operations of the named charity or charities.

As a donor, you might wish to consider creating a designated fund if:

  • The benefited charity lacks the size, experience or expertise to administer a sizeable fund
  • You have concerns about the long-term existence of the benefited charity and would like to name backup charities to receive payments if the primary charity ceases to exist or changes its mission
  • You’re simply more comfortable separating the principal gift from the control of the named charity’s staff and/or board
  • You may benefit many different nonprofits in an organized and efficient way

The administrative fee for a designated fund is 1.25 percent, and the minimum annual fee is $1,000.

The donor-advised fund is the Foundation’s most popular and flexible vehicle for giving. This fund type allows you to make a tax-deductible gift to the fund now, and recommend grants to specific nonprofits on your own timetable.

A donor-advised fund allows you to receive a tax deduction in the year of any donation to the fund. Then, you and your family can remain actively involved in the fund’s charitable grantmaking for generations to come. In fact, many of our philanthropists view their donor-advised funds much like a family foundation; it is an alternative to a private foundation, but provides greater tax advantages and involves fewer administrative burdens.

And remember: a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation can make grants to any 501(c)(3) charity in the United States, and internationally as well—including houses of worship, schools and universities.

Administrative benefits of donor-advised fund:

  • Created at no cost, simply by completing a fund agreement. Unlike a private foundation, there are no associated legal fees or applications for approval from the IRS
  • Not subject to a 5 percent payout requirement. Though donor-advised funds at the Community Foundation regularly pay out more than 10 percent of their balance each year, there is no legal requirement to make grants in any given year. Likewise, there is no maximum amount that a donor may request to pay out to charities.
  • Not subject to an excise tax on investment income
  • Does not require separate tax identification status, annual tax return or audit
  • No minimum fund size
  • It can make anonymous gifts
  • Only $1,000 minimum annual fee for standard funds invested in the Community Foundation’s investment vehicles (i.e., Unitized Pool, American Funds, Conservative Option); enhanced or externally managed funds and other levels of donor services involve greater administrative fees

Tax deductibility of gifts:

  • Gifts of publicly traded securities are generally deductible at 100 percent of the fair market value, including capital gain, up to 30 percent of the donor’s adjusted gross income (with a five-year carry forward)
  • Gifts of cash are usually deductible up to 50 percent of the donor’s adjusted gross income (with a five-year carry forward)
  • Gifts of private assets (e.g., real estate, private company stock) are usually deductible at their fair market value, up to 30 percent of the donor’s adjusted gross income (with a five-year carry forward)


For donor-advised funds, the annual administrative fee is tiered according to the following schedule:

• First $500,000               1.00%
• Next $500,000 – $5M     0.70%
• Next $5M – $20M           0.55%
• Next $20M +                  0.50%

Minimum Annual Fee

  • $1,000 for standard funds invested in the Community Foundation’s investment vehicles (i.e., Unitized Pool, American Funds, Conservation Option)
  • $2,500 for CFP funds invested in the Community Foundation’s investment vehicles (i.e., Unitized Pool, American Funds, Conservative Option); donors with funds of any size can opt into our highest level of donor services and programs through the Center for Family Philanthropy (CFP) by paying the minimum CFP fee
  • $5,000 CFP funds that are individually managed by an outside investment manager
A field of interest fund is similar to our Common Good Fund in most respects, except that the grantmaking from the fund is limited to a particular cause or field designated by you, the donor. For example, you might choose to restrict your grants to an area of need, such as health, education or homelessness. Should you wish your field of interest fund to benefit a nonprofit field for which the Community Foundation does not already support a grants process, it must be approved by the Foundation. The minimum annual administrative fee is 2 percent with a minimum annual fee of $5,000.
Many donors choose to create a scholarship for students as an enduring philanthropic legacy. As a donor, you’ll enjoy broad latitude to define the criteria of the scholarship itself. And, if you choose, you may remain involved in the recipient selection process.

The Foundation provides all scholarship administration, and does so for an array of scholarship funds and types. The annual administrative fee is two percent. The minimum annual fee for a fully managed scholarship fund is $5,000, while the minimum annual fee for an externally managed scholarship fund is $1,000.

Take a look at some of the scholarship funds currently administered by the
Community Foundation >

Supporting Organizations

A supporting organization is a separate legal entity with its own mission, board, bylaws, policies, etc. But, because of its close connection to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, that organization enjoys legal status as a public charity—operating under the Foundation’s umbrella, much like the relationship between a corporation and its subsidiary.

The Community Foundation legally appoints a majority of the supporting organization’s board of directors. A new or existing supporting organization may affiliate with the Community Foundation if it has at least $2 million in assets. Supporting organization policies, procedures, services and fees are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Through a supporting organization, donors like you receive the benefits and services of the Foundation itself—while maintaining a separate board of directors that manage the supporting organization’s grantmaking, investments and other functions.

Private and Family Foundations

We’re proud to say we work well with others. In fact, in order to access our services and expertise, many of Georgia’s largest private and family foundations also maintain funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. To establish such a relationship, a private or family foundation may make a distribution into a fund at the Community Foundation. And in certain cases, we may also be able to provide services to a private or family foundation for a negotiated fee.

Of course, some donors have determined that their existing private or family foundation no longer meets their philanthropic or financial objectives. In that case, the entire private foundation may be converted to a fund with the Community Foundation.

Future and Estate Gifts

Philanthropy is a unique enterprise. It allows you to bring joy now, and continue to do so, even beyond your lifetime. Planning today can help ensure that legacy of joy for future generations. The Community Foundation supports donors like you in making planned gifts, and helping you leave a charitable legacy for your family and your community.

Our legal name is The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Inc. and our tax ID number is 58-1344646.

The following planned charitable gift vehicles can be used during your lifetime, and beyond:

You can make a bequest by naming The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Inc. as a charitable beneficiary in a new or revised will, or by adding a codicil to an existing will or living trust. The bequest can come in the form of a stated dollar amount, or specific property, a percentage of the total estate, or a portion of or the entire residue of the estate.

The following language would be appropriate for a bequest:

(a) I give and bequeath ______ percent of my adjusted gross estate (as that term is defined in the federal estate tax laws) to establish the “_________ Fund” of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Inc., subject to its governing instruments, policies and procedures, as amended from time to time.

(b) I bequeath _______ percent of my adjusted gross estate (as that term is defined in the federal estate tax laws) to The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Inc. This gift shall be devoted to the general charitable purposes of the Community Foundation as set forth in its governing instruments, as amended from time to time.

A charitable gift annuity (CGA) allows you to contribute assets directly to the Community Foundation while receiving an income tax charitable deduction and a guaranteed income for life. A CGA can help ease concerns of outliving financial resources by providing a high income coupled with numerous tax advantages.
A charitable lead trust allows you to provide income to your fund, designated nonprofits or the needs of Atlanta for a specified number of years. Then, the remainder is returned to you or your named beneficiary. This means you may be able to transfer assets to others without incurring estate, gift and income taxes.
A charitable remainder trust (CRT) allows you to establish a trust for the ultimate benefit of your fund at the Foundation, for specific nonprofits or the needs of Atlanta. It’s also an opportunity for donors like you to retain a lifetime income generated by the contributed assets, receive a current income tax deduction and defer the capital gains recognized on the sale of the contributed asset. A CRT may help you eliminate capital gains taxes altogether, and reduce or eliminate gift and estate taxes. This vehicle also can improve lifetime cash flow and, when coupled with an asset replacement trust, can provide for your heirs.
If you own valuable property and would like to continue using it throughout your lifetime, you can make arrangements to donate it to the Community Foundation at the end of your life. As a result, you may receive a income tax deduction now, and an estate tax deduction in the future.
The gift of life insurance can provide valuable income and estate tax savings. As a donor, you’re welcome to give a life insurance policy you no longer need, or take out a new policy. For maximum benefit, name the Community Foundation as the owner and beneficiary of a policy. This can benefit your fund, designated nonprofits or the needs of Atlanta.
You might be all too aware: retirement plan accounts and IRAs are often subject to layers of taxation—including both estate and income tax. But a charitable gift of these funds at the end of a donor’s life can provide that 100 cents on the dollar will go to charity.

Establishing a Planned Gift

At the Community Foundation, we know we’re fortunate. Because every day, we get to work with dynamic, passionate philanthropists like you. Philanthropists who are committed to learning more about the ways their work can change our community for good.

As your partner, it’s our job to make the process easy, flexible—and, yes, joyful! That’s why you’ll receive personalized support through your dedicated philanthropic advisor.

So, let’s get started. And together, we’ll discover joy…all along the journey.

Speak with a Giving Expert

For More Information About Our Philanthropic Services, Please Contact

Christy Eckoff
Director of Gift Planning

James Tobias
Major Giving Officer