How does my client start a fund?

It is easy to help your client establish a named charitable fund. Use the following steps as a guide.

  1. Help your client decide what type of contribution he/she/they would like to use to establish the fund. Donors can contribute cash, securities or other property.
  2. Next select a name for the fund. Your client can use their own name, the name of a family member or anything of their choosing.
  3. Fund advisors such as the client and spouse and/or successor advisors such as the children or grandchildren should be designated.
  4. And finally a fund agreement will need to be developed, customized and signed by the donor and GACF so future foundation staff and Trustees have a governing document to help guide the ongoing intent of the fund.


Once the fund is established, the donor(s) may add to the fund in any amount with any gift at any time, can specify how grants are to be acknowledged (in the name of the fund or anonymously) and if a Donor Advised fund is established the donor may be involved with the grant making experience.

Can my client name a successor to the fund?

Yes, your client can name a successor or successors to the fund. But if they chose not to name a successor, or after the named successor’s death, the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees will continue to use the funds in accordance with your client’s wishes.

Want to learn more?

Besides contacting the GACF office, there are several places to turn for resources in West Michigan. Grand Valley State University’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership is one and is an excellent resource for discovering more about non-profit’s and community data.

There are many resources on the Internet but we are not in a position to recommend one over another. And you probably have access to your own resources or you could just do a search using the word philanthropy. Many of the online resources would provide updates on tax and probate laws as well as case studies and discussion forums