The Greenville Area Comminity Foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in our area.

To do this, GACF will attract and hold permanent endowment funds received from a an everevolving community of conors of donors. Donors who are looking for ways to give back to the greater Greenville community and maximize various tax advantages that giving to a community foundation offers. GACF not only can manage and invest endowed charitable funds for individuals and families but for businesses and other nonprofit organizations as well.

Donors have many options when it comes to charitable giving, but an advantage of working through the GACF is that we are in direct contact with our area and continuously listen to local organizations. We consider attorneys, accountants, financial planners, insurance agents and other professionals who have relationships with donors to be our valued partners in charitable giving.

We have an outstanding reputation for integrity and service to donors since the inception of GACF in 1989. Our volunteer Board of Trustees represents the diversity of our community. They work hard to maintain high donor confidence about proper management of charitable gifts. 

There are clients who prefer to remain anonymous and we are glad to work directly with you on their behalf. Please feel free to contact us to explore an option or discuss an opportunity.  

How Can We Help You and Your Client?

  • We can help identify your clients’ charitable giving interests and motivations.
  • We can provide information on community needs—and on the local agencies and programs that make a difference in the areas your clients care about most.
  • We can deliver grant making expertise and a range of administrative services related to charitable giving.
  • We can offer many tax benefits for your clients.And the entire experience is developed uniquely for each individual donor based on their philanthropic interests.

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.

What is the minimum gift required to start a fund?

The minimum for establishing a fund with the GACF is $10,000, but we do offer a fund building option. Contact the GACF office for more details.

What type of assets can be used to start a fund?

GACF has the ability to accept a range of assets including:

  • Cash
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Real estate
  • Personal property, such as jewelry and artwork
  • Life insurance policies
  • IRA assets

Can a client name a successor advisor to the fund?

Yes, your client can name a successor(s) adivsor(s) to the fund. If they chose not to name a successor, or after the named successor’s passing, the GACF’s Board of Trustees will continue to use the funds in accordance with your client’s documented wishes.

How can my client provide support for a favorite charity through the GACF?

There are two great options for supporting a favorite charity. They include starting a Donor Advised or Designated fund.

A Donor Advised fund gives individuals, families or businesses the opportunity to participate in the grant making process by recommending nonprofits and programs to receive grants. This is a personal and highly effective, yet simple, way to give.

A Designated fund provides the opportunity for the donor to identify a specific nonprofit organization that will benefit from the grants each year or the funding can be retained for future use.

In both instances, the Community Foundation handles all of the administration, record keeping, and financial statements for the funds.

How does a Donor Advised fund work?

A Donor Advised fund with the Greenville Area Community Foundation will give your client the opportunity to take part in the grant making process without the work and expense of operating a private foundation. A Donor Advised fund can be started with a minimum endowed gift of $10,000. Each year, your client will have the opportunity to recommend nonprofits to receive grants, which then are approved by our Board of Trustees. Again, all of the paperwork, record keeping and administration are handled by GACF. This is a great way for your client to involve their children and grandchildren in family philanthropy, if appropriate, and to support the ever changing needs of our area by making the fund unrestricted. For more information about these types of endowment funds or others, contact the GACF office.

How is GACF different from commercial charitable gift funds like Fidelity or others?

  • GACF is in the business of connecting donors with the greater Greenville community and the causes they care about most.
  • We are a cost-effective and hassle-free alternative to private foundations.
  • We work diligently with donors to help them achieve a wide range of charitable giving objectives.
  • We accept a wide variety of assets.
  • We have a number of different fund types.
  • We offer more giving options for a lesser fee.
  • Most importantly, we’re local to the greater Greenville community and well positioned to connect your clients to the causes they care about.

What are the tax benefits for my clients if they give through the Greenville Area Community Foundation?

The Greenville Area Community Foundation offers the maximum charitable tax advantages available by law. Because of the nature of community foundations, we are not subject to the taxes and regulations affecting private foundations and we have greater flexibility on matters such as minimum payout.

Why should I talk to my clients about charitable giving? And when does it make sense to suggest a charitable gift?

Identifying your client’s philanthropic interests is a wonderful way to deepen your client’s trust and strengthen your relationship. It is also an opportunity to develop initial contact with future heirs. To determine your clients’ knowledge of philanthropy and uncover any motivation for charitable giving, you might start with questions like these:

  • What has been the most satisfying charitable gift you have ever made? Why?
  • Have you volunteered anywhere? Which volunteer experience has been the most rewarding?
  • Which core value(s) would you like to express through your giving?
  • What are your greatest concerns when you think of the challenges facing our community?
  • Are any of these the focus of your current giving or future giving plans?
  • What have you learned about your giving? Would you do anything differently if you could?
  • What would you like to accomplish with your giving?
  • If I could help you plan for the financial health of yourself and any heirs, would you consider giving back to your community through a community foundation?

Philanthropy is a very personal decision. As a professional advisor, you can help your client realize their charitable objectives by asking questions, explaining options, suggesting solutions and listening for charitable giving opportunities. Interest and benefits to making significant gifts often arise when clients are making major business, personal, and financial decisions. Our staff can work with you and your client to recommend the best charitable solution.

How can I recommend a nonprofit gift without recommending a specific nonprofit to my clients?

By recommending giving through the GACF, you offer your clients a single, simple solution to their philanthropic interests. A community foundation is a trusted vehicle your clients can use to support the issues they care about most, while gaining maximum tax benefit under state and federal laws. We are here to support all nonprofit organizations as well as other foundations in our area. One way we can help you help your client achieve their charitable goals would be by setting up a charitable endowment fund in your client’s name. There are also many other giving options that we would be glad to discuss with you and your client.


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 nonprofit and community data.