Frequently Asked Questions

Who is YCF?

YCF is Your Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia, Inc.  By IRS definition we are:

  • non-profit,
  • tax-exempt, and
  • publicly funded.

As a community foundation this means the following:

  • We are recognized under Internal Revenue Service Section 501(c)(3) and can provide you documentation of your charitable donation for tax purposes; and,
  • We are public because we receive our support and donations from a wide variety of sources.

In addition:

  • We have a governing body, a Board of Directors, that broadly represents the general public.
  • We operate primarily as a grant-making institution that also provides charitable services.
  • We provide grant funds to multiple organizations and projects that cover a broad range of interests and address all segments of the population.
  • We focus our efforts locally, primarily in North-Central West Virginia.
  • We are permanent. The majority of our assets are invested with the goal of providing a long-term and growing funding stream for future grant-making.

Why use YCF when we can set up a private foundation?

Although both community and private foundations perform similar grant-making functions, the public classification of a community foundation provides several tax advantages and offers you discretion over how monies will be distributed from your charitable donation.  Choosing a giving strategy offers a comparison of these options.

What happens when I create an endowment fund?

YCF receives a donation to create an endowment fund as a restricted contribution.  This means the initial and subsequent contributions to that fund are invested forever.  Each year the interest and growth of the investment, up to 5 percent, are used for a minimal YCF administrative fee and a distribution or grant to named organization(s), or to organization(s) that make application to YCF and who fit the purposes specified in your fund’s agreement at the time the fund was set up.

Who manages how my donation is invested?

The YCF Board retains the responsibility for the overall investment management, including the appointment of professional managers through a competitive proposal process.  Currently, PNC Institutional Asset Management is our professional manager.

YCF’s Investment Committee, a subcommittee of the main board, works with our investment manager, but maintains decision-making oversight of all investments.  The committee develops and monitors investment and spending policies. The YCF investment objective is “preservation of principal with growth in real dollar terms. Providing a predictable, stable stream of income for grant-making and operating needs, and providing for fund growth are secondary objectives.” Individual fund balances are reported to you on a quarterly basis. YCF’s investment strategy utilizes a highly diversified portfolio which reduces overall risk.

What is a distribution?

A distribution is yearly dollar amount determined by the Board of Directors to provide meaningful payouts from the permanent endowment funds for charitable needs while preserving the value of the assets. It is calculated by using a tracking 12-quarter average of the market value of each fund. The distribution is inclusive of YCF’s administrative fee.  The distribution is in the form of a grant made to a named organization(s), or to organization(s) that make application to YCF and fit the purposes specified in your fund’s agreement at the time the fund was set up.

Can I specify my distribution?

You may specify your endowment fund’s purpose by area of interest or by specifically identifying the organizations that will be recipients of these funds.  Organizations must be recognized as tax-exempt under Section IRS 501(c)3.  Additionally, the fund’s purpose or designated organizations must be established at the time the agreement is signed and the contribution is made.

Does YCF recognize in-kind donations?

We recognize that donors are able to give in many ways. In-kind material donations will be acknowledged at their fair market value (FMV), if that FMV is less than 5,000 dollars.  Above that dollar amount, the donor must submit an appraisal of the value of the item.  Please contact the YCF offices regarding other types of in-kind donations, including professional services and real estate.

Can my donation be returned?

Once a charitable donation has been acknowledged by YCF, usually through a letter, the donation is considered completed and cannot be returned.  There are several mechanisms to ensure that your fund will serve its purpose in perpetuity.  First, the purpose of the fund may be specified by the donor at the time the fund is set up.  Second, through specific text in every YCF fund agreement, called the variance clause, the YCF Board of Directors may use their discretion to redirect fund distributions should the fund agreement’s beneficiary organization(s) cease to exist or the fund’s purpose become obsolete.  The Board is obligated to look for the next best use that meets the purpose of the original agreement.

How is YCF supported?

YCF operations are supported by our investment fees, grants and public and private donations. YCF also has established the Founder’s Fund, an administrative endowment fund that accepts donations from individuals who believe in the work of the community foundation and want to support that effort in perpetuity.  Distributions from this fund will directly benefit YCF operations.

How is YCF governed?

YCF is governed by a Board of Directors that represent a variety of interests in North-Central West Virginia.  Each member is elected to a three-year term which may be renewed for two additional terms (for a total of nine years), after which the member must remain off the board for at least one year before a possible re-appointment.