Leading Change. Transforming Communities.

Fund FAQs

Fund FAQs

Following are common questions regarding setting up a fund at ECCF. Please contact us for more details or additional questions.

  • How long does it take to set up a fund?
    It can take as little as two hours to set up a fund. Generally a donor meets with an ECCF staff member to decide how they would like the fund to work. Next, to establish the fund, the donor completes a simple Donor Agreement Form and transfers assets. In the case of a fund created in memory of a recently deceased loved one, where it is urgent that the fund be established to notify people through the newspaper or funeral home, the donor needs only to name the fund and sign and fax an agreement form. The details of the fund can be decided when the family is ready. All gifts will be eligible for tax benefits.
  • Do I need to set up a 501(c)3?
    No. ECCF is a nonprofit organization and your fund will fall under our tax exempt status.
  • How much do I need to open a fund?
    We require $1,000 to open a fund, with the expectation that the fund will grow to a minimum balance of $10,000 by the end of the first year.
  • Is there a minimum balance?
    $10,000 for Donor Advised Funds, Field of Interest, Designated Funds, Corporate Funds and Scholarship Funds.  The minimun required to establish an Agency Fund is $25,000.  It is expected that after the first year, all funds maintain at least the minimum balance unless the fund is in the process of closing.
  • Who should be on my Advisory Committee?

    For donor advised funds, most donors choose their spouse or one or two close family members to serve as advisors to the fund. Advisors may recommend grants from the fund. Successor advisors are often children or the next generation of relatives of the donor.

    Field of interest funds are required to have advisory committees appointed by the ECCF Board of Trustees. These generally include the donors and others who are expert in the field or connected in some way to the cause.

    Scholarship funds may have scholarship selection committees that can be nominated by the fundholder but appointed by the ECCF Board of Trustees. The IRS requires that less that 50% of the committee be related to the donor. ECCF is available to assist you with selecting appropriate committee members.

  • Can I change members of my Advisory Committee?
    Yes. Donors may change members of their advisory committee by notifying ECCF in writing.
  • What are the fees to manage my fund?

    ECCF charges the following fees for fund management. Fees are based on the average daily annual balance,  assessed monthly. For example a donor advised fund with an average balance of $25,000 will pay $250 for the year, charged $20.83 per month. There is a minimum fee of $250 for all Funds.  Those Funds that require additional administrative services due to active fundraising or a competitive grantmaking process managed by ECCF may have higher fees. The investment manager also charges a small fee taken before the return.

    Donor Advised Fund or Corporate Fund to $500K 1%
      to $2M 0.75%
      to $5M 0.50%
      over $5M 0.25%

    Scholarship Funds

    to $250K


      $250 - $2M 1.50%
      $2M - $5M 1.25%
      Over $5M 1.00%


    Agency Fund


    to $250K



      $250K - $2M


      Over $2M 0.25%

    Field of Interest Fund


    1.5% - 5% depending on services

    Designated Fund

    to $250K


      $250K - $2M 0.50%
      over $2M 0.25%


  • How are ECCF fees used?
    Fees support our services for donors as well as ECCF's community leadership initiatives.  ECCF is a nonproift organization and all our fees are used to help improve the quality of life in the County..
  • Will my Fund need to disburse a certain percentage each year?
    No. Unlike a private foundation, ECCF funds do not require a minimum annual payout.
  • How much can I recommend in grants each year?
    This will depend on the type of disbursement that you select on your Donor Agreement Form. Donors have two options:
    • Follow the ECCF Board of Trustees Spending Policy – currently 4.5% of the principal and interest averaged over 20 trailing quarters.
    • Spend interest and principal with the option of depleting the fund over time.
  • Do I have a choice on how my fund is invested?
    Yes. You may choose from four options:
    • ECCF General Fund 
    • Self-Directed Strategy
    • Money Market
    • Personal Professional Advisor (For Funds over $200,000)
  • Can other donors add to my fund?
    Yes. Your Fund may be listed as a donation option on ECCF’s website for online giving. You may request your own donation page exclusively for your Fund. Donors may also make cash or stock gifts.
  • I have my own website, can I link to ECCF?
    Yes. We will link to your website and provide you with the donation page link to embed in your site so that all gifts to the fund will automatically come through our giving portal.
  • Can I hold a fundraiser for the benefit of my fund?
    Yes. Proceeds from the event after expenses may be sent to your fund at ECCF.
  • Can my fund continue providing grants to my favorite charities once I am gone?
    Yes. We will help you establish a fund that will continue to support your favorite causes in perpetuity.
  • What does ECCF mean by “variance power?”
    Once you have established a fund with ECCF and received your tax benefit, the fund’s assets belong to the Community Foundation, just as they would if you made a gift to your favorite charity. The variance power provides ECCF with the authority to guard your gift so that all grants issued are consistent with your intent as stated in the Donor Agreement Form when the fund was established. For example, if you stated that the fund is to be used to support food pantries, the Board of Trustees would question a grant recommendation for the symphony orchestra. If you change your mind on how you would like the fund to be used, we can work with you to make that change.
  • What are the advantages to having a fund at ECCF?
    All ECCF Fundholders are members of the ECCF family. You will be joining an active, informed group of philanthropists who share your interest in helping to improve the quality of life in Essex County and beyond.  We pride ourselves on our experience and our personal, accessible, friendly service. SeeWhy ECCF for the advantages of setting up a fund at a community foundation and the Fundholder page for examples of our donor services.
  • Am I restricted on the grants I recommend?
    You may recommend a grant to any nonprofit organization with a 501c(3) tax status. Public Schools are also eligible to receive a grant. Grants may not be given to individuals unless they are awarded through a scholarship fund. Scholarships may be given to students attending college, high school or post graduate school, attending summer camp or as part of an achievement award.