Donor FAQs

1
Q. Why choose ACT?
A.

We know our community. When you choose to invest in the future of our community, you want to work with someone who knows the territory. The broad cross-section of leaders who guide our work lends valuable insight that will help your charitable giving achieve maximum results.

We help you achieve superior tax benefits. Since the IRS considers us a public charity, contributions are eligible for the highest available tax deductions. In most cases, these tax benefits outweigh using your assets to establish your own private foundation.

We make set-up and administration easy. Establishing a fund can be done in less time than it takes to open a bank account. We take care of all the administrative and grantmaking activities, eliminating the need for you to set up a separate institution, formulate policies, file innumerable forms and monitor the status of grant recipients. We save you precious time and money.

We share your interests. We are here to help you become connected to the issues you care about most. Your charitable interests and priorities are important to us because committed, caring citizens are vital to our community’s well-being.

We care about the future. By setting up a fund, you have the ideal opportunity to create a legacy for yourself and for Alexandria.

2
Q. How do you monitor the investment of my fund?
A.

ACT works in partnership with Greater Horizons, a division of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation who has extensive investment experience. Greater Horizons works with professional investment firms and oversees long and short-term investment decisions on all of our assets. The Greater Horizons staff is available to discuss the Foundation’s overall investment strategy with you as well as the options you have for your fund.

3
Q. What are the differences between an advised fund at ACT and one at a commercial gift fund?
A.

Although these products are similar in function, ACT offers several advantages over commercial gift funds. ACT has noteworthy results in meeting the needs of our communities. This means that ACT is extremely knowledgeable on local charitable programs, nonprofit organizations, and local issues affecting our communities. Through ACT’s team and its educational programs, donors have access to this wealth of information to help them with their charitable interests and grants. Philanthropy is ACT’s only business; consequently, its sole focus is on making a difference in our community and with donors.

4
Q. How will I know about the status of my fund?
A.

You will receive quarterly statements from us showing all activities from your fund. Additionally, you can access your fund online if you wish to both review fund status and make donor gift recommendations.  Feel free to call us anytime to inquire about your fund or any other questions you may have.

5
Q. What are the fees?
A.

There are no start-up fees. After your asset is transferred to us, your funds are pooled in income-producing accounts with income and gains allocated to each fund. The annual fee for administering the fund is 1%.

6
Q. How large do my grants have to be and how often can I make them?
A.

ACT suggests a $250 minimum for your grant awards. You may recommend as many grants locally, regionally, or nationally as you wish from both the income and principal of your fund.

7
Q. What’s the minimum amount required to start a donor advised fund?
A.

$10,000 is the minimum required to open a fund.

8
Q. How permanent is my fund?
A.

You have the choice to determine how permanent your fund is. Many people elect to endow their charitable commitments. This decision means that ACT will invest fund assets to ensure that the fund’s purpose can endure in perpetuity. A fund created using this approach is an endowed fund. The principal is left intact and allowed to grow with inflation while the interest income from the fund is used for your grant awards. Other options include Donor Advised Funds that are not endowed.

9
Q. Can I give out of the Alexandria region?
A.

Yes. Through an donor advised fund, you can make grant recommendations to any 501(c)(3) public charity in the United States. Sometimes grants can even be made internationally. There is also no limit to the amount of grants that you can recommend.

10
Q. Is there a giving option that helps ACT address the Alexandria region’s needs as they arise?
A.

The ACT Community Fund allows the ACT board to respond to pressing community needs. It's a wonderful way to ensure that your gift remains relevant over time.

11
Q. Can I specify how my gift is to be used?
A.

Yes. An donor advised fund and a field of interest fund allow you to review your giving and recommend grants to any IRS qualified charity you wish to help. A designated fund is established to help the organization(s) you specify when you create the fund. Discretionary funds (unrestricted) leave the grantmaking decisions to ACT.

12
Q. Who can recommend grants from an advised fund?
A.

Anyone listed as advisor on the fund agreement can recommend grants from the fund. Additional advisors may be added later by the original donor to the fund.

13
Q. Do I have to make a grant each year from my fund?
A.

There is no minimum amount that must be distributed annually from your fund, unlike a private foundation that has a minimum 5% annual payout.

14
Q. How do I make a grant recommendation from my fund?
A.

If you have a donor advised fund or field of interest fund at ACT and would like to make a grant recommendation, you can access your account online by clicking here. If you need access to your user name and password, please contact John Porter at john.porter@actforalexandria.org or call 703-739-7778.