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Have a question about The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County?

If you are a current donor, or considering becoming one, we invite you to browse through our frequently asked questions below. If you don't find what you are looking for, please contact us for more information.


  1. Why should I give to The Community Foundation instead of directly to charitable organizations?

    The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County ensures that your gift is permanent, and we ensure that the grants made to nonprofits are being used appropriately. Because a portion of the annual investment proceeds are granted each year, your gift will provide for your favorite organizations and causes year after year. We offer you the maximum tax benefits allowed by law for your donation. We can handle the most complex gifts and assets, thus allowing nonprofits to benefit from them and preserving their precious resources by handling the complex legalities for them.

  2. How do I know The Community Foundation will be here forever?

    In addition to an annual independent audit, The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County is reviewed regularly by the Community Foundations National Standards Board to assure its compliance with prevailing laws and best practices. These regular reviews keep us on our toes and doing what we promised to do. Few organizations undergo such thorough reviews. In addition, our Leadership Fund is an endowment that supports our operations and programs, which helps to ensure our permanence.

  3. Who invests the Foundation's Endowment?

    The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County's Board of Directors establishes the Investment Policy for the endowment pool and asks the Investment Committee to implement the policy. The Committee conducted an extensive RFP process and reviewed a number of proposals for investment consulting services. After careful consideration, the Committee retained the services of Golden Gate Institutional Consulting, a consulting group of UBS. Working with the consultants, the Committee invests the endowment in a highly diversified strategy that seeks to maximize returns while minimizing risks over time.  

  4. How much does it cost to begin a fund?

    The minimum to begin an endowed fund at The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County is $25,000, with the minium for an endowed scholarship fund being $50,000. A temporary, pass-through fund minimum is $10,000.

  5. What is a spending policy?

    Our spending policy ensures the growth potential of our endowed funds. It is a formula for distributions that is based on a board-determined percentage of the fund's average fair market value over a 36 month time period.

  6. Are there any fees?

    To support our diligent stewardship of charitable assets we charge administrative fees on a quarterly basis.

  7. Are small contributions important?

    Absolutely. The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County welcomes contributions of any size. In fact, two thirds of the donations we receive are $250 or less. These donations are a tribute to our county's reputation as a caring, sharing community. People are joining together to leverage their giving. All contributions are tax deductible to the full extent that current tax law permits.

  8. Do I have a say in how my contributions are distributed?

    If donors choose to begin a donor-advised fund, they can recommend grant distributions to The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo's Board of Directors at any time. Scholarship, Field of Interest and Endowment funds also involve a great deal of donor involvement. We strive to tailor each fund to its donor's specific needs and interests.

  9. Why should I donate to The Community Foundation rather than beginning my own private foundation?

    Beginning and running a private foundation requires a lot of time and money with legal fees, excise tax, limitations on deductibility of donations in addition to administrative costs. The alternative is to establish a donor-advised fund with us. In addition to maximum tax advantages, we handles all of the auditing, accounting, insurance and other "back office" support that can be very costly in running a private foundation. You also have the option of complete anonymity and confidentiality when establishing a fund with us...we are a good alternative to establishing a private foundation.

  10. What is a Community Foundation?

    A community foundation is a public trust that works with donors to build endowed funds that will perpetually support the needs of the geographical area served by that foundation. This includes supporting non-profit organizations and funding community projects that help preserve quality of life in that service area.

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