Frequently Asked Questions & Glossary of Terms

Q: What is a community foundation?

A: A community foundation is a publicly supported philanthropic and tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Community foundations manage individual and organizational funds for donations and grants to other nonprofit entities.

Q: What is the Catholic Community Foundation of Los Angeles and how does it work?

A: CCF-LA is a public, religious, nonprofit 501(c)(3) community foundation that accepts tax-deductible contributions, invests and manages those funds, and then makes grants to deserving, socially responsible causes and organizations.

When donors give to CCF-LA, they have the option of establishing an endowment or a donor-advised fund from which they can recommend how, when, and where their donated funds are distributed to charitable causes.

Donor-advised funds offer significant benefits over traditional family foundations, including advantages in tax filing and liabilities, reduced administrative costs, the capacity to give anonymously, and more.

For endowed funds (designated or donor-advised), a CCF-LA client’s giving and impact can be continued beyond his or her lifetime.

Q: What is the benefit for donors?

A: CCF-LA functions as a professional philanthropy management office for its donors, providing excellent customer service and customized giving solutions within a regulated and transparent business environment.

The foundation relieves donors of investment and regulatory reporting burdens while providing clients with comprehensive, up-to-date reporting on both the grants and donations made in their names.

Donations also realize immediate tax benefits for CCF-LA’s clients.

Q: How and where are funds invested?

A: Funds are invested in options based on the client’s expected timeline for requesting grants from his or her funds. CCF-LA’s current investment options include a Balanced Pool designed for permanently endowed funds; a Short-Term Investment Fund, which preserves  capital for a short timespan while client funds are being designated and granted; and an Intermediate Fund for the 18-to-36-month time period for recommending grants and cash options for granting needs. Clients may also ask CCF-LA to consider funding options they select. In all cases, the foundation is committed to being transparent when it comes to fund management and maintaining a socially responsible investment policy.

Q: Who do the funds help?

A: Grants from CCF-LA are made to support the mission of the Catholic Church and to support those organizations closely aligned with that mission. Because CCF-LA clients influence how and where their funds are given, grantees can include a wide array of charitable organizations in addition to the Catholic causes that these donors may have traditionally supported.

Q: How is CCF-LA different from other community foundations?

A: CCF-LA is distinguished by faith-based and socially responsible operations purposely aligned with the Catholic Church. The foundation’s Catholic mission is the most important factor in a donor’s decision to manage his or her philanthropy through CCF-LA.

Q: Is CCF-LA part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles?

A: While CCF-LA operates independent of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, it is guided by the goals of a Catholic, faith-based community and currently serves almost exclusively Catholic clients from across the Los Angeles region.

In order to maintain clarity and distinction between the pastoral mission of the Archdiocese and the broader philanthropic mission of CCF-LA, three key executives of the Archdiocese serve on the CCF-LA Board of Directors as ex-officio members.

Q: What happens to funds that become inactive?

A: Periodic reminders are sent to fund advisers to let them know about their grant-making capability and capacity, especially if a fund has not been active for over one year.

If a fund remains inactive for three years, the funds are transferred to a community fund managed by CCF-LA’s Board of Directors and aligned with the initial intention of the client. This assures charitable granting will continue and the fund will not be dormant.


CCF-LA Glossary of Terms

Donor(s): An individual or couple who make a contribution in any amount to an existing fund owned by CCF-LA.

Fund Adviser: An individual who has been named in fund documents as having active authority to recommend grants from a Donor-Advised Fund.

Successor Fund Adviser: An individual who has been named in Donor-Advised Fund documents as being next in line for the role of Fund Adviser; the transfer of authority takes place upon the death or inability of the Fund Adviser to fulfill his/her role.

Account Administrator: An individual with the authority to make deposits, request distributions, view statements, etc., for an Agency Fund account; this individual is named and documented by the primary Investor.

Interested Party: An individual who is not an Adviser or Administrator but has been granted permission by an Investor or Adviser to view paper and/or online account statements; Interested Parties do not have authority to recommend grants, request distributions, or move money between accounts or investment options.

Investor: The primary, signatory authority on an Agency Fund Agreement; this individual can name one or more account administrators to manage deposits and withdrawals and other related business.

Donor-Advised Fund: A fund established with a minimum $10,000 gift to CCF-LA for any general or specific purpose in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church; grants out are recommended by a Fund Adviser. DAFs can be either

  • Permanent—subject to the same 5% annual spending guideline as an endowment fund, or
  • Nonpermanent—the value of the fund can be spent down to within $5,000
  • Single donor, open to a specific individual or family, or
  • Multi-donor, open to contributions from any interested individual

New Philanthropist (NP) DAF: A unique Donor-Advised Fund, an NP DAF can be established with only $2,000. Otherwise, it is subject to the same guidelines as a traditional DAF.

Agency Fund: An account established with a minimum of $25,000 by a nonprofit or religious organization. CCF-LA provides professional money management and investment services to the client organization, while the organization retains ownership of the money. Deposits and spending guidelines are determined by the client. Requires an Investor signature to establish; can be open to multiple donors or maintained in confidence.

Endowment Fund: A permanent fund gifted to CCF-LA for the long-term support of a specific cause or purpose; subject to 5% annual spending, which is facilitated by the CCF-LA Board of Directors.

Scholarship Fund: An account established for the benefit of qualified students at levels pre-K through graduate programs and vocational schools. Endowed scholarship funds can be managed by the CCF-LA Board of Directors, by a family, or by a committee at a parish or school.