Plan With Your Advisor

Initiating a discussion with your professional advisor about your philanthropic interests is an important step in financial planning. Professional advisors play an important role in philanthropy when providing complete financial planning and professional advice.

The Eau Claire Community Foundation (ECCF) is a public charity. We do not promote just one charitable cause, but many. Our mission is to build and hold a permanent and growing endowment and other charitable funds to provide for the community's changing needs. Through this unique mission, ECCF can help you achieve goals in ways not available through other organizations.

  • Assets Accepted
  • Giving Through ECCF

    Yes, giving through, not to. The Foundation is the tool through which your clients can connect with their favorite charitable causes. We’re here to help your clients achieve their long-term charitable goals.

    ECCF consists of named funds established by many donors –individuals, families, corporations, and organizations – principally for the benefit of the Eau Claire area. But the Foundation’s work is as broad as the interests of the donors who have entrusted their philanthropy to us.

    So what should you ask a client interested in giving through the ECCF?

    What would you like to achieve? To give back to the community by creating an endowment to meet its future needs? To ensure that a favorite cause or organization will receive support far into the future? To find a way to involve family members in philanthropy? To remember a loved one in some way?

    How would you like to give? Let’s discuss the options: a lifetime gift, bequest, or deferred gift? With case, stock, real estate, retirement accounts, or other assets?

    ECCF is a public charity, designed to offer the most favorable tax treatment possible for your client’s gift. Our professional staff will help you develop a meaningful, personalized giving plan tailored to your interests.

    Remember, ECCF exercises strict fiduciary responsibility over all its assets and provides prudent stewardship of donor funds. Because gifts to a community foundation are pooled for investment purposes, your client will also enjoy the advantage of a diverse portfolio mix that minimizes risk and enhances the likelihood of a maximum return to charity as the gift grows over time.

    ECCF does not offer legal advice to individuals regarding their estate plans. We encourage donors considering a bequest to ECCF to work with their legal and financial advisors.

  • The Advisor's Role in Philanthropy

    Why? A host of reasons:

    • Many clients are already in the habit of charitable giving, so incorporating philanthropy into the planning process is a natural reflection of most clients’ values.
    • For clients with substantial estates, minimizing or eliminating estate and income taxes is difficult to do without some charitable planning. Regardless of the status of the estate tax, charitable planning offers tax advantages in many other situations, such as the sale of highly appreciated stock and the disposition of retirement accounts upon death.
    • Philanthropy can help resolve many personal issues that are deeply important to clients. In addition, many professional advisors find that assisting clients in this area is personally rewarding as well, because they struggle with the same issues.

    Despite the reluctance of many advisors to bring up the question of philanthropy, clients want help with their charitable giving and are looking for informed advisors.

    Good Advice

    Good charitable advice strengthens the client relationship by providing better service to the client and generating greater client loyalty. Clients expect to be referred to experts in charity, as they would to other specialists, like lawyers or accountants. Although ECCF is a public charity, it does not promote one charitable cause. Instead, its mission is to build and hold a permanent and growing endowment, thereby helping your clients achieve goals in ways not available through other organizations. For a more complete discussion of ECCF’s services, as well as some suggestions on how to raise the topic of charitable giving with clients, please contact us.

  • Comparing ECCF with Other Giving Vehicles

    Selecting the right charitable giving vehicle for a particular client involves many variables, including how much money is available for charitable giving, whether family members are available as volunteers, and the client’s need for operational control. According to the Internal Revenue Service, over 105,000 private foundations were registered with the federal government in 2006. More than 60% of U.S. private foundations have assets of less than $1 million. Chances are good that a private foundation was not the best option for all of these donors, but the donors may have selected a private foundation because they were not fully informed about the alternatives.

  • ECCF vs. Private Foundations

    The vehicles most often considered are a private foundation and a donor advised fund. To offer your client the best recommendation between these options, think through the following questions dealing with the startup phase of the giving vehicle, as well as ongoing operations:

    • How much time does the client have to complete a gift?
    • How much money will be available to contribute in the near and short term?
    • What kind of initial start-up costs and ongoing operational expenses is the client willing to pay?
    • Are the differences in tax deductibility significant?
    • Does the client demand absolute operational control?
    • Will family members be available to run the foundation as volunteers?
    • If not, can the foundation hire staff?
    • Does the client already know what they want to accomplish and how?
    • Are the annual operating costs reasonable and sustainable?
    • How will the client react to the operational restrictions?
    • Is the client strongly concerned about privacy?

    An advised fund at the ECCF might allay these concerns. Public charities like ECCF file donor lists and grant lists with their tax returns, but federal law protects the donor lists from public inspection. 

  • Services for Private Foundations

    As a community foundation, ECCF is legally classified as a publicly supported charity. At the same time, we share some of the features of a private foundation, particularly its grant-making expertise. Because of this hybrid quality, ECCF can offer a number of services to private foundations. Here are just a few:

    Minimizing or Eliminating Administrative Burden

    Clients who established private foundations years ago may find that they are no longer suitable or convenient. Perhaps no family members or friends are available to run the foundation as volunteers. Perhaps the administrative burdens have become a nuisance, or the size of the private foundation now makes it difficult to justify the operational costs. Whatever the situation, working with the Eau Claire Community Foundation is a great alternative.

    Transfer of Assets

    The private foundation may transfer all of its assets to the ECCF and then elect with the IRS to terminate both its private foundation status and legal existence. The private foundation could then create any type of fund at ECCF, such as a field of interest fund, to continue grant-making in areas important to the private foundation, or a Donor Advised fund with family members or trustees as donor advisors. The private foundation may transfer all of its assets to the foundation without electing to terminate. Through this method, the private foundation avoids excise taxes and the obligation to file a tax return, since it has no assets and no income. But the private foundation still exists as a legal entity in order to advise the community foundation on disbursements from the fund.

    Meeting Annual Distribution Requirements

    Clients who have private foundations may occasionally have difficulty meeting the foundation’s annual federal payout obligation. Perhaps the private foundation has not received sufficient applications within its focus area, or a favored project is not quite ready to proceed. In these situations, the private foundation can create a Donor Advised fund at ECCF and contribute all or part of the current year’s required distribution to the fund. Because ECCF is a public charity, this contribution is a “qualified distribution” that counts towards the federal payout requirement. The private foundation’s trustees can then recommend grants from the Donor Advised fund as needed.

    Identifying Worthy Charities

    With more than 1.5 million public charities in existence nationwide, and thousands locally, it can be difficult for private foundations, particularly those with no staff and few volunteers, to identify the most worthy agencies. In such a case, the private foundation could create a fund at ECCF and then ask our grant-making staff to develop a portfolio of charities for the private foundation’s consideration and recommendation.

    Making Grants Anonymously

    For any number of reasons, a private foundation might want to support a nonprofit anonymously. If so, the private foundation could establish a Donor Advised fund at ECCF, and then recommend that a grant from the fund be made anonymously to the ultimate beneficiary. All of the private foundation’s grants are public information. ECCF’s grant lists are also public, but is not required to specify which fund was the source of a particular grant.

  • ECCF vs. Charitable Gift Fund

    The past decade has seen an explosion in the number of charities offering some version of an advised fund, based on the original community foundation model developed in the 1930s. The best known among them is the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, started in 1992, which now has several billion dollars in assets. Reportedly, more than 60 similar gift funds exist, and more are being created. Mutual fund companies, brokerage firms, and large, sophisticated nonprofits are among the many providers. (Advised fund programs administered by these nontraditional providers are collectively referred to here as “charitable gift funds.”)

    What to consider

    Charitable gift funds have different policies, costs, and capabilities. Whomever the provider, the professional advisor should consider a range of issues when considering whether to recommend this option:

    • What level of service does the client want now or potentially need in the future?
    • What types of assets does the client want to contribute, and how much?
    • What about investment choices for the fund?
    • What will it cost to use a particular fund, and what services are available in exchange?
    • Does your client want to make gifts for charitable purposes to non-registered charities or
    • international groups, or to be limited to certain kinds of charities?
  • Planned Giving Options

    The future of ECCF and its ability to benefit the residents of the greater Eau Claire area is assured by the continued generosity of our donors. When it comes to making a long-term impact, there are many giving options to choose from. Through planned giving, you can help your clients further our mission while providing them with tax or other financial benefits. Learn more by becoming a Legacy Society Member.

  • ECCF Investment Fund Options

    ECCF encourages, facilitates, and manages long-term philanthropy. It focuses its efforts on the greater Eau Claire area, although charitable distributions are often directed to causes throughout the United States.

    Stewardship and Objectives

    The ECCF considers their stewardship over donors’ contributions a serious undertaking. Diligence, prudence, attention and care are the guiding principles driving the management and investment of charitable assets.

    The objectives of the Investment Committee include:

    • To preserve and enhance the earning power of the assets held in the portfolios

    • To produce favorable total return when compared to Policy benchmarks

    • To maximize value with a prudent level of risk and reasonable distribution

    • To generate a steadily growing stream of income and to maintain and enhance the principal

    of the assets by aiming for consistent returns through all market cycles

    Investment Oversight

    The ECCF Board of Trustees is responsible for the oversight and management of the ECCF investment portfolio. The ongoing work is carried out by the Investment Committee, consisting of Board members and community volunteers. The responsibilities of the Investment Committee include reviewing overall portfolio asset allocation, regularly assessing the spending policy, conducting at least quarterly reviews of the portfolio’s performance given investment objectives, and ensuring costs are appropriate and reasonable in relation to assets managed.

    Diversified Portfolio

    The investment portfolio is managed by Morgan Stanley, which works closely with the Investment Committee and staff to deliver a comprehensive investment management program in support of meeting the Foundation’s stewardship goals for its endowment, conducts regular investment policy management assessment, and provides recurring performance reporting.

    Socially Responsible (SRI) Portfolio

    This Portfolio is designed to meet the needs of fund holders who desire socially responsible investing options. ECCF partnered with Morgan Stanley, which has been a leader in this area for over 30 years, and its team has a rich history of experience and knowledge that is unique in the social investing industry. Morgan Stanley provides values alignment with positive environmentally and socially focused portfolios with competitive risk – adjusted returns. They do this through a spectrum of investing, including restriction screening, social and governance integration, and thematic investing that focuses on areas like climate change, health and well-being, inclusion, and safety and security.