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 us at (865) 524-1223.

What is East Tennessee Foundation?

East Tennessee Foundation is a community foundation that seeks to promote thoughtful giving for stronger communities and better lives throughout our region.

What is a community foundation?

A community foundation is a tax-exempt organization that administers a flexible, yet permanent collection of funds that support charitable work in a particular geographic area. 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.

How are you different from the commercial gift funds like Fidelity?

ETF also offers the local, professional expertise of its staff to help connect your clients to the community causes they care about and identify changing needs in the community. ETF also offers a greater variety of funds than the commercial gift funds.

What is the advantage of a community foundation over a private foundation?

Creating a fund at ETF is less costly, in terms of both time and money, than establishing a private foundation. The Foundation can help your clients establish a fund in a matter days and handles all the administrative details. Establishing a private foundation can take months or longer, and they are responsible for substantial legal, accounting and operational matters. For a more complete comparison, see our comparison table (PDF).

How do I get my clients started?

Contact one of our advancement team members to discuss the assets and types of funds that best fit your clients' charitable interests and financial situation.

What are the tax advantages to all this?

While tax considerations vary according to assets, generally, your clients may deduct up to 50% their adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash contributions, and up to 30% of their AGI for gifts of highly appreciated assets such as publicly traded securities. As you know, tax laws and regulations change frequently. Your clients' tax situations are unique and likely to be affected by specific facts and circumstances that are beyond ETF’s control or knowledge.

Does the Foundation serve as trustee?

ETF can serve as trustee of a charitable trust from which ETF will benefit. Requests for ETF to serve as trustee of the charitable trust are considered on a case by case basis. Please contact us to discuss whether ETF would consider serving as trustee of a particular charitable trust.

How can ETF fit into my clients' estate plans?

ETF will work closely with you and your clients to help facilitate planned gifts of all types through their personal estate plans according to the type of assets to be transferred and the manner in which those assets will be transferred.

What if my clients want to keep this private?

ETF respects requests for anonymity. If your clients wish their fund to remain anonymous, they may name it accordingly. They may also indicate, through the fund agreement that governs the fund, if they would like for all or occasional grant distributions from their fund to be anonymous.

Can my clients make other gifts to various funds? How often?

Additional gifts to an established ETF fund can be made in any amount and at any time.

Is there a minimum amount for grant distributions from a Donor Advised Fund?

ETF’s current minimum grant distribution is $100.

How often can my clients make distributions?

ETF allows unlimited grant distributions from Donor Advised Funds.

I work with a nonprofit organization - can it also open a fund?

Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to explore establishing an agency endowment fund at the Foundation to ensure fiscal perpetuity and to work with the Foundation's staff on planned giving programs.