About Us

FAQs

Are you a public charity? Will I get my tax deduction?

Yes, to both! We are an exempt public charity under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, EIN 88-02414120. We are incorporated in Las Vegas, Nevada, and are subject to the State of Nevada’s charitable laws.

Donations to us are no different from those to any other public charity. Your deduction may differ according to the specifics of the gift and/or your personal circumstances, however, so please consult with us if you have any questions in mind.

If I don’t already know, how can I discover what causes are important to me?

Every philanthropic journey is different. When people give to charity for the first time, they often resort to well-known causes—food banks, animals, the environment, their religious institution, etc. (which are, of course, important causes). Others seek inspiration from their personal experiences; many support medical charities because they have a loved one impacted by the disease. There are also those who simply have an interest in the cause or are impressed by the good work being carried out. That is fine, too! Not every charitable donation has to come with a moving backstory.

If you really have no idea where to start, simply sit down with someone (we can be that someone) and talk about you—who you are, where you came from, where you’re going, your family and friends, your work, career, and hobbies. Keep calm and ramble on. You might be surprised how much you can learn about yourself and your values from such a simple activity.

What is important is that you are willing to explore and iterate, give and interact. And if you want us to be a part of your journey, count us in!

How can I be sure my philanthropy will impact the causes I care about?

That’s a great question! Here at Nevada Community Foundation, we think about impact on two levels: outputs and outcomes. Outputs are the activities that the charity accomplishes with your giving, such as the number of meals served or the numbers of animals saved. Outcomes, however, are what you should be looking for: what the charity achieved vis-à-vis its mission. Did the charity put a dent on food insecurity, or are people still going hungry in your community? Is the charity doing something about the root causes of abandoned animals, or are they just saving the animals coming to their doors?

Note that simply serving the hungry or saving the animals are good things. There is no shame, especially for a smaller charity, to tackle what they can without overextending themselves. Though if you seek a longer-term impact, a good rule of thumb is always to look for “upstream problem solving,” getting to the root causes of an issue rather than treating its symptoms.

How do you know what the root causes are? The answer is easier than you think: ask the charity! If they cannot tell you, and if they cannot explain their thinking and how they measure their impact, you may want to consider other options.

How can I be sure the organization I’m thinking about is the right one to support the change I want to see in the world?Are you a public charity? Will I get my tax deduction?

There is never an easy or right answer on this one. Part of it is more art than science, requiring a level of trust. The other part is to look for objective metrics, especially ones that touch on outcomes rather than outputs (see above). Do not underestimate the power of peer-to-peer networking. Many donors and funders find it extremely helpful to simply ask their fellow funders this question and listen to their answer, experiences, and even their own measurements.

You can consult with experts on the issue—think tanks tend to have resources on how they themselves measure impact. Finally, reach out to us and we can help conduct this research on your behalf. 

What if the organization becomes ineffective?

Consider two options: the easier path is simply to switch your focus to another charity working the same area.

If you are heavily invested in the charity, however, you may choose to invest in “capacity building.” That is, invest in the infrastructure of an organization—technology, additional staff, strategic consulting, etc. A carefully timed grant of this nature can dramatically change the effectiveness of an organization. This is, of course, a risky investment, akin to investing in a startup.

What if the organization changes its mission?

Individual donors tend to have limited ability to influence an organization’s mission directly—U.S. charitable law insist on a level of distance and independence for all charities. Our recommendation is that you directly ask the charity why they change their mission, consider their rationale and your own values. If they do not align, consider changing the charity you support.

What if the organization has a scandal involving the use of funds (or any scandal)?

Most donors step away from a scandal-plagued charity. Generally speaking, that’s a good idea. Those who are especially invested in the charity can do their own research and ask questions of the organization, or observe how it handles the scandal.

Few things demonstrate an organization’s integrity more than how it handles such a scandal. Is the organization acting transparently? Is it addressing the problem head-on? What measures are being put in place? Does it keep stakeholders—that includes you, the donor—in the loop?

How can I insure my vision for how the monies are to be used is satisfactorily honored over time?

U.S. charitable law and IRS regulations give wide leeway to charities to fulfill their charitable mission. This is, by and large, a good thing, but it also means that they can shift away from your intended vision.

Nevada Community Foundation exists to protect “donor intent.” We have a number of tools at our disposal. Here are two of the more effective tools:

  • We can set grant parameters and have the recipient charity sign a grant agreement. This places some reporting burden on the charity, but is a very common and effective way to ensure that the money is used how you want to.
  • We can create an endowed fund at Nevada Community Foundation in benefit of the recipient charity and specifically for a cause. This way, if the charity ever shifts away from the mission you intend, we will have the leeway to shift the funding elsewhere closer to your vision.
Do I want to give to operations, capital improvements (i.e., buildings) or programs? If programs, towards prevention or towards intervention?

There is no wrong answer to this one. Most donors prefer to give to programs or capital improvements directly, as those are generally the easiest to grasp—your gift goes directly towards something concrete that makes direct impact.

However, there is something to be said about giving to operations and even giving unrestricted funding. Gifts to operations are rarer, and accordingly more desired; even the largest charities struggle with this.

Moreover, as long as the charity is being effectively run, unrestricted giving is arguably the most impactful way to give. Having unrestricted resources they can direct as they see fit empowers nonprofit CEOs to take bolder innovative steps, invest in their own capacity and people, fix longstanding problems, and be more responsive to fast-changing community needs. Of course, this requires that you trust the charity to use your gift wisely.

As for prevention vs. intervention, that, too, is a personal preference, though we find that the most “bang for the buck” tends to come from prevention.

How much of my investment goes toward administrative costs

Currently, donor-advised funds are charged 1% or less of assets per year, prorated monthly, or a minimum of $500 per year.

Fiscal sponsorship funds and other specialized funds use a different fee system. Please contact us for more information.

What is the difference between a DAF and a Private Foundation?
Private
Foundation
Community
Foundation
Maximum Tax benefits No Yes
AGI Tax Deduction Limitation on Cash 30% Up to 60%
AGI Tax Deduction Limitations on Long Term Capital Gain Property 20% 30%
Gifts of Qualified Appreciated Stock Fair Market Value Deduction Fair Market Value Deduction
Gifts of Real Estate or Closely-held Stock Cost Basis Deduction Fair Market Value Deduction
Privacy Confidentiality No Disclosure of IRS Form 990PF Required Yes – Confidentiality Maintained (If Desired)
Excise Taxes on the Sale of Highly Appreciated Gifts Yes No
Annual Excise Tax Payments 1-2% of Net Income and Net Realized Gains None
Customized/Personalized Investment Program for Each Charitable Entity/Fund Yes Yes
Ease of Establishing Charitable Entity Complex Simple
Annual Minimum Distribution Requirement 5% None
Personal, Local Service by a Mission-based Organization No Yes
Knowledge About Local Nonprofits No Yes
How long does it take to begin my charitable giving?

It takes about 2-3 days to set up a fund with us. You can begin giving immediately afterwards.

How long does it take to measure the impact of my giving?

That varies greatly. For outputs, that is, the concrete actions the charity takes in using your gift, you can generally track the results within a year at most. For outcomes—progress in the social issue being tackled—that is a significantly more thorny question. Early childhood education, for example, only shows its full impact after 10+ years!

However, there are many ways to understand and track impact in each area. Talk to us if you have specific questions in mind.

Open a Fund »

Can I establish a direct relationship with the organization receiving my contribution?

Yes, you can. Many donors find it rewarding to establish a direct relationship with the charities to which they give. We can broker an introduction and join you in visits and meetings.

Of course, many of our donors prefer to keep a low profile and utilize us as “gatekeepers” to reduce unsolicited donation requests and mails from charities, to preserve anonymity, or simply out of preference.

Can I create my own webpage or social media footprint to get the word out? Can Nevada Community Foundation do this for me or help me?

For donor-advised funds, we generally do not advise that you conduct public fundraising as the vehicle is not designed for it. For other types of funds (scholarships, community funds, etc.), however, please consult with us. While we cannot guarantee that we can help in every case, we have helped other donors before with their web presence.

Please note that this service may include additional fees beyond the regular fee schedule.