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Frequently Asked Questions


Do you have a question you don't see answered here? Or do you have a suggestion for a Frequently Asked Question we should add to this list? Email us or call (877) 524-1223.


What is East Tennessee Foundation?
East Tennessee Foundation is a nonprofit community foundation that manages and invests charitable funds established by individuals, families, businesses and other nonprofit organizations. 

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What is a community foundation?
A community foundation is a flexible, yet permanent collection of funds supported by a wide range of donors. Community foundations make grants to community groups from funds established by individuals, families, businesses, and others that want to support the work of nonprofits, schools, and other groups that address community concerns. There are more than 650 community foundations across the United States and four in Tennessee. 

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How are you different from the commercial gift funds like Fidelity?
The Foundation has competitive fees and offers more charitable products than the commercial gift funds. The Foundation also offers the local, professional expertise of its staff to help connect you to the community causes you care about. 

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What is the advantage of a community foundation over a private foundation?
A Donor Advised Fund at the Foundation is less costly, in terms of both time and money, to establish than a private foundation. The Foundation can help you establish a Donor Advised Fund in a matter days and handles all the administrative details. Establishing a private foundation can take months or longer, and you are responsible for substantial legal, accounting and operational matters.  

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How do I get started?
Contact your Professional Advisor and/or a member of the Foundation's Advancement Department to discuss the assets and types of Funds that best fit your charitable interests and financial situation. 

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Can I/should I involve my attorney, CPA, estate planner, etc.?
The Foundation works with Professional and Financial Advisors regularly to assist donors in the philanthropic process. We encourage you to include any of your Advisors in exploring and deciding to establish a Fund or Charitable Trust.

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Aren't there some tax advantages to all this?
While tax considerations vary according to assets, generally, you may deduct up to 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash contributions, and up to 30% of your AGI for gifts of highly appreciated assets such as publicly traded securities. Tax laws and regulations change frequently. Your tax situation is unique and likely to be affected by specific facts and circumstances that are beyond the Foundation's control or knowledge. We encourage you to consult with your Professional Advisor when establishing your Fund.

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How can the Foundation fit into my estate plan?
The Foundation will work closely with you and your professional advisor(s) to help facilitate planned gifts of all types through your personal estate plan. 

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How do I establish a charitable trust?
The Foundation offers several types of charitable trusts, and can serve as trustee and provide administrative management and investment of your assets. You should consult with your professional advisor and a member of our Client Services staff with detailed questions about the type of charitable trust that would best suit your needs. 

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What if I want to keep this private?
The Foundation respects requests for anonymity. If you wish your donor advised fund to remain anonymous, you may name it accordingly. You may also indicate if you would like for all or occasional grant distributions from your donor advised fund to be anonymous on your fund agreement. 

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Can I make other gifts to fund? How often?
Additional gifts to your fund can be made in any amount and at any time. 

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How often can I make distributions?
The Foundation allows unlimited grant distributions from your donor advised fund. 

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Can my nonprofit organization open a fund?
Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to explore establishing a Gift Fund at the Foundation to ensure fiscal perpetuity and to work with the Foundation's staff on planned giving programs. 

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What is the Foundation's privacy policy?
Except as required by law, the Foundation will not disclose information about a donor or a donor’s gift.  However, with permission of the donor, the Foundation may feature a donor in promotional materials or on the Foundation’s website or social media.  Unless otherwise specified in the testamentary documents, donors making gifts to the Foundation by bequest or other testamentary device are deemed to have granted permission for inclusion (after death) in promotional materials.  If giving categories have been stipulated for a specific fund drive, challenge grant, or project, or as part of the Foundation’s ongoing recognition program, then donors, unless they otherwise specify, are deemed to have given the Foundation permission to publish their names associated with the relevant giving category. In the case of memorial/honorary gifts, the Foundation will provide the names of donors to members of the immediate family, unless the donor has requested anonymity. The President/CEO is authorized to accept anonymous gifts to the Foundation and to handle them appropriately. The Foundation will not sell, trade or exchange information about its donors. Donors and any other recipients of Foundation mail or electronic mail messages may opt-out of any lists maintained by the Foundation and used for such communication.

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