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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a community foundation?
A community foundation is a tax-exempt public charity built on the concept of people helping people to improve the quality of life in a particular geographic area. Individuals establish permanent endowment funds and other types of funds with their community foundation to help respond to emerging community issues and opportunities.

Who governs the Dearborn Community Foundation?
The Foundation's governing board is comprised of up to 20 knowledgeable, concerned community citizens and volunteers who live in the Dearborn County community. They represent a cross section of our community and have different areas of expertise and a diverse knowledge of our community. The board oversees the management and policies of the Foundation.


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

Community foundations, in addition to being knowledgeable about local needs, provide an array of services to donors who wish to establish endowed giving without incurring the administrative and legal costs of starting and operating a private foundation.

How does the Dearborn Community Foundation invest fund dollars for growth?
DCF retains an investment manager in which to invest donors' funds, pending donation to charity. The Foundation’s volunteer Finance & Investment Committee, made up of individuals with significant experience in business and finance, works with our staff to regularly evaluate investment performance to achieve Foundation investment goals. The DCF board of directors has ultimate responsibility for investment policies and performance.

How are DCF’s services funded?
The Foundation’s operations are typically funded in one of five different ways:

  • Gifts to the Foundation’s Operating Endowment Fund (permanent);
  • Fundraising events, including the annual DCF charitable golf outing;
  • Administrative fees assessed to non-permanent (pass-through) grant/scholarship funds;
  • Administrative fees assessed to endowment funds (permanent);
  • And interest income.

What are the financial benefits and tax advantages of gifting through DCF?
Donations qualify for the maximum available tax deduction for charitable contributions in the year when the gift is made.

I would like to give something to my favorite charity, but I'm not rich. Don't I have to be wealthy to establish a fund through the Foundation?
No! … Anyone can be a philanthropist. It does not require great wealth, just a concern or willingness to help others or a particular cause.

Can I give anonymously?
Yes. You can decide whether you want to be recognized for your giving or to remain anonymous.

Can other people contribute to an endowment fund I established?
Yes. Some donors suggest to their friends and family that they give to such funds in honor of a special event, such as a birthday or anniversary, instead of purchasing a gift.

How can not-for-profit organizations apply for a grant?
Grant application procedures are listed on the “Grants” page of this website under “How to Apply.” You may also call the Program Director at 812-539-4115.

Who is eligible for a grant?
Please see the “Grant Application” and “Guidelines” for DCF grant programs on the “Grants’’ page of this website. You may also call the Program Director at 812-539-4115.

Who decides which applications are awarded grants?
Volunteer grants committees, made up of a diverse group of volunteers, including community leaders and members of the DCF’s Board of Directors, review grant applications. The grants committees make recommendations to the board of directors, which makes the final grants decision.