What is the Rockland Community Foundation?
The Rockland Community Foundation (RCF) was created as a means to connect people and businesses with the causes that matter most to them, through the establishment of funds that they create and we steward. 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 difference right here at home. As a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization, donations to 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.
How are we different from the other charities in Rockland County?
We do not support a single organization, but rather, the broadest range of charitable concerns in Rockland County. Our portfolio of funds is determined by the charitable goals of the donors who establish them.
What is the advantage of donating through the Rockland Community Foundation?
The advantages are many:
First, we enable donors to have a say in how their monies are dispersed. They choose they type of fund they wish to establish, and determine the degree to which they are involved in its disbursement (see fund types for more information).
Second, our funds can serve a broader 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, 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 most importantly, our funds are sustainable. They will continue to benefit our community for many lifetimes. All donations to our funds are invested, and only a portion of the income is spent, ensuring a gift that will grow in perpetuity. It is a way of building sustainable, long-term support that will help better the lives of people in Rockland County, and ensures a donor's gift will live on for many years to come.
What types of funds does the Foundation offer?
The Foundation offers a wide array of fund types to address virtually all charitable goals:
Donor Advised Funds - for donors interested in being active and involved in recommending grants to charitable projects or organizations. This type of fund can be a cost effective alternative to creating and maintaining a private foundation.
Field of Interest Funds - support particular areas of interest, specific programs, causes or geographic areas within Rockland County.
Designated Funds - provide ongoing support to a specific agency or charitable cause selected by the donor.
Scholarship Funds - can be established to benefit students at any education level
Unrestricted Funds - are not specifically designated for any specific use, but rather allow our Board of Trustees direct funding where it is needed most.
What is the minimum requirement to establish a fund?
Many people think that philanthropy is for the very wealthy. Community foundations such as ours put philanthropy within reach:
There is no minimum requirement to donate to an existing fund. 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 five years. Scholarships and memorial funds require a $1,000 minimum balance be maintained at all times for disbursements to be made against them, but there is no specific annual contribution required. For more information, see our document: Administrative Fees and Support Fees and Fund Minimums.
Donations can also be made to our Founders Circle, which enables us to direct funds to where are most needed. We offer varying contribution levels, beginning at $500. Anyone interesting in making a Founders Circle donation pledges to contribute a set amount each year for a minimum of four years.
Is setting up a fund difficult?
Absolutely not. We believe that the act of giving should be simple, joyous and uncomplicated, without being encumbered by the burden of time-consuming administrative tasks. We have the structure in place to do the administrative work for our donors, with experienced financial and legal advisors who can assist them in building a legacy that will last long into the future, with tax benefits they can take advantage of now.
How are our funds invested?
Investments done according to the Foundation's Investment policy, which contains board approved guidelines; our key goal 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 devices of a respected outside brokerage company.
What type of donations will the Foundation accept?
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.
How does someone apply for a grant?
Each of our funds has different requirements. Applications are extremely competitive. Please direct any inquiries to our website, RocklandGives.org, for more information.