What is a community foundation?

A community foundation is a public 501(c)(3) charity that serves as a vehicle for community philanthropy. The community foundation receives contributions from donors — including individuals, organizations and corporations — pools them for investment purposes and reinvests in the community through grants to local charities. There are more than 700 community foundations in the United States. To learn more about what a community foundation does, click here.

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 funds without incurring the administrative and legal costs of starting and operating a private foundation.

What is an endowment?

Endowment defines charitable gifts permanently invested for current and future needs. A percentage of the endowment fund balance is distributed each year for charitable purposes. As the endowment grows, more funds are available for the community.

How are Community Foundation Sonoma County’s assets managed?

Our funds are combined into investment pools for economy of management and access to the best management and advisory talent available. Four pools provide donors with options to meet their philanthropic goals.

What is the long-term investment strategy?

For long-term investments, our strategy is designed to protect and increase assets over time. Investing to sustain endowment funds also requires an acceptance of market volatility. Our long-term investment policy specifies a target asset allocation among seven major categories of equity and fixed income investments. It also requires regular portfolio rebalancing to its target.

Local professional comprise our Investment Advisory Committee, which meets regularly to guide our investment policies and monitor the performance of our professional managers. The Committee’s work ensures that our portfolio is well-managed and that it produces an ever-increasing income stream for the long-term benefit of our community.

How much does Community Foundation Sonoma County grant each year to nonprofit organizations?

Each year, an average of 80% of our total grants are distributed from donors and nonprofit organizations with funds at the Community Foundation, and the remaining 20% are given through our competitive grants programs. Since 1983, the Community Foundation and our donors have awarded more than $160 million in total grants.

Does the Community Foundation receive funding from city, county and state government?

No.  The Community Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. Its funds come from donations from individuals and organizations and from grants from private foundations.