Individuals, Families & Businesses

The Community Foundation can help with all your charitable giving. Working together, we make it easy to realize your philanthropic goals.

The Community Foundation can help with all your charitable giving. Working together, we make it easy to realize your philanthropic goals.

Working Together

We can facilitate all your charitable giving.

Working with you or with your professional advisor, we can help you create giving solutions that reflect your values, motivations and goals.

What are your interests and goals?

  • Are you interested in the arts? Children or the elderly? The environment?
  • Do you want to support current programs? Or, do you want to support an endowment that will address your interests for generations to come?
  • Do you want to use your gift to pass your charitable ideals on to other family members?
  • Is your gift intended to create a lasting memory of a loved one, your family or your business?

The Community Foundation can help you identify your interests. We can also help you address multiple goals at once, due to our flexibility and range of services. Through our gift-planning expertise, we may be able to show you how you can make a bigger gift than you thought your resources would allow.

We help you with your strategic philanthropy.
Working with you or with your professional advisor, we can help you create giving solutions that reflect your values, motivations and goals.

We work with gifts of any size and donors at every level of giving.
The Community Foundation can help every donor find the right charitable-giving tools to match their stage of life and their preferred level of giving. Everyone can experience the satisfaction of making a difference in the community.

We multiply the impact of your gift dollars by pooling them with other gifts.
Because the Community Foundation accepts gifts from hundreds of individuals and organizations each year, we are able to pool gifts from donors who share common interests. This is the power of collective, community philanthropy.

We help any gift have both an immediate and a long-term impact.
The Community Foundation specializes in creating endowment – a permanent pool of assets that support charitable causes in our region. You may give to an established endowment fund or we can help you create your own to address the issues you care most about. As endowment funds grow, they produce more charitable dollars that go back into the community. This means that your gift today keeps on giving forever!

We honor your charitable intent forever.
By partnering with the Community Foundation, you are assured that the charitable dollars you entrust to us will always serve the purpose you intended. The Community Foundation staff and Board carefully steward the charitable assets our donors have contributed over the years.

Ways to Give

Giving to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is easy. We can accept one-time gifts or gifts over the course of several years. We accept a wide variety of gifts, including:

  • Cash, by check or online donation
  • Securities traded on major exchanges
  • Closely held business interests
  • Interests in limited liability companies
  • Patent interests and other qualified intellectual properties
  • Mutual fund shares
  • Fully paid life insurance policies
  • Retirement plan assets
  • Real estate

Giving through the Community Foundation allows you to support what is most important to you. You may support the endowment of a particular nonprofit organization or give to a particular area of philanthropic interest. Or, you may choose to support the Community Foundation’s unrestricted endowment fund, which gives us the flexibility to address the emerging needs and unforeseen opportunities that arise in our region over time, such as helping resolve Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Please consider giving online by clicking here. (Online gifts must be $10 or more)

For gifts by mail, please complete this form, include it with your check and mail it to:

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
333 W. Fort St., Suite 2010
Detroit, MI 48226

For gifts of cash via wire-transfer or gifts of securities, please carefully review our Procedures for Making a Gift of Cash or Stock.

For assistance with any gifts please call our Philanthropic Services staff at  313.961.6675.



Plan Your Gift

Charitable giving shouldn’t happen by accident. Every charitable gift you make should be planned to ensure it both fits your interests and supports the causes you care about.

The terms “planned gifts” and “planned giving” refer to several gift techniques that typically involve you retaining a portion of, or an interest in, the asset you are giving to charity. Often, charitable distributions under a will or trust, life insurance and retirement plan beneficiary designations, and other direct — but deferred — gift arrangements are also considered planned gifts.

Planned gift arrangements give you an opportunity to address a wide array of issues you may be facing and can provide you with many benefits. They can be simple or complex, depending on your unique financial, family and business situation. Call Philanthropic Services at 313.961.6675 to begin customizing a plan that is right for you.

Benefits of Planned Gifts

  • An immediate charitable income tax deduction
  • Avoidance or deferral of capital gains taxes if appreciated property is used to fund the gift
  • Retained and possibly increased income to you or others you care about
  • Possible assistance in asset diversification
  • Support for charity

Almost anyone can make a planned gift. Many planned gifts, such as charitable gift annuities, can be established for relatively small amounts ($10,000 or more). Arrangements such as charitable remainder trusts may require more significant amounts, to make the administrative and implementation costs of the gift reasonable.

There are a number of different planned gift options, each of which is useful in certain circumstances. The goal is to find the planned gift that is most advantageous to you, to all those who are significant to you, and to the causes you support. The Community Foundation’s staff can provide assistance in creating a planned gift that’s right for you.

You should always consult with your legal, tax and financial advisors when making a significant gift of any kind – and particularly when you are considering a planned gift. Your advisors can help you find the right gift for you. The Community Foundation can also help you and your advisors identify these opportunities.

Types of Planned Gifts

You may wish to make a charitable gift to a fund at the Community Foundation, but also need to provide a source of income for you or others. In this situation, one of several retained income gift techniques may be attractive to you. These arrangements include:

Charitable Gift Annuity

This is an agreement between you and the Community Foundation wherein we agree to provide the annuitant (usually you) a determined amount for life, in exchange for your gift. Unlike most other retained income arrangements, a gift annuity is not a trust. Rather, it is a contract between the Community Foundation and you that is secured by our assets. You can establish a gift annuity at the Community Foundation for a minimum gift of $10,000 or more.

Charitable Remainder Trust

Charitable remainder trusts are established by you and are separate trusts that benefit only you or your designated beneficiaries — and, ultimately, the charitable causes you care about — through the Community Foundation. There are multiple types of charitable remainder trusts to fit a variety of situations. The two main types are annuity trusts, which pay a set amount to the beneficiary, and unitrusts, which pay a percentage of the annually determined value of the unitrust to the beneficiaries. We can work with you and your professional advisors to ensure that the charitable cause you care about is ultimately supported by your trust.

Other planned giving arrangements provide current support for charity with a deferred benefit to you or others, or are deferred gifts that take effect upon your death or with the passage of time.

Charitable Bequest by Will

One of the simplest ways to provide for your community is to establish or add to a fund at the Community Foundation through a bequest in your will. This is a simple option that allows you to enjoy all of your assets during your lifetime and use them to support your favorite causes after death.


Life insurance makes it possible for virtually everyone to make a meaningful gift. Fully paid policies that are no longer needed for their original purpose can make excellent gifts when given to the Community Foundation. You can either designate the Community Foundation as the beneficiary, or you can gift the policy during your life and likely receive an immediate income tax deduction.

Retirement Assets

Like life insurance, retirement assets can be easily gifted to the Community Foundation at death. This can be done by changing the beneficiary designation for the retirement asset. In addition, you can reduce income taxes payable by your family – in addition to saving estate taxes — by giving retirement assets to the Community Foundation. For example, if you were to give a $100,000 IRA to your children at death and another $100,000 of assets to the Community Foundation, your children would have to pay income taxes on the IRA (in addition to any estate taxes that might be owed). By giving the IRA to the Community Foundation and the other assets to your children, all of the income taxes are avoided on the IRA. This income tax benefit can be important when planning the distribution of your pension, profit sharing, Section 401(k) and Section 403(b) plans, and IRAs. Special rules apply to making charitable gifts of these assets during life. Please consult with your tax advisor and the Community Foundation about these rules.

Charitable Lead Trust

Similar to a charitable remainder trust, a charitable lead trust is established by you. The Community Foundation receives the current distributions from the charitable lead trust, with the remainder returning to you — or more typically being transferred to your family. These arrangements can be very useful in reducing the gift and estate tax costs of moving assets to your family and can sometimes be used to generate current income tax deductions.

Remainder Interest in Residence

Under certain circumstances, you can provide for the transfer of your home to the Community Foundation at your death and still live in your home. This technique can generate immediate income tax deductions for you, even though you remain in your home until death.

Choosing to give to the Community Foundation in your will is easy. You should always consult with your legal advisor, but sample language such as the following will help make clear your intentions. “I give __________ to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan for the benefit of the _________ Fund.”  The first blank may be filled in with a specific dollar amount, a specific percentage, or the remainder of the estate.  The second blank may be used to name a specific fund the funds should benefit, or you can simply make the gift to the Community Foundation without a specific fund name.

Please call the Philanthropic Services department at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan at 313.961.6675 to take advantage of the many opportunities a planned gift can provide you and your family.

Create a Fund

We have worked with individuals, families, businesses and other foundations, often along with their professional advisors, to establish more than one thousand funds which helped them achieve their unique philanthropic goals, realize tax benefits and maximize the impact of their charitable contributions.

A contribution to any fund at the Community Foundation is treated as a gift to a public charity. As such, these contributions receive the most favorable tax treatment under the Internal Revenue Code. Also, our funds and supporting organizations are not subject to excise taxes and minimum distribution requirements as are private foundations.

If you choose to establish a fund, you may name it after your family, business or other name that is significant to you. The name of the fund will be maintained creating a permanent legacy within the community. Funds can also be established on an anonymous basis.

You may be eligible for an immediate tax deduction when establishing a charitable fund. You can choose from a number of types of charitable funds, many of which can be established for as little as $10,000.

Fund Types Include:

  • Unrestricted – Your gift ensures the Community Foundation can address the most urgent needs and most promising opportunities of our region as they evolve
  • Field of Interest – Support a specific cause that you care about, such as the arts, the environment, youth, or the elderly. Such a fund could support a broad range of organizations working to address the cause you care about
  • Designated – Support a specific organization or group of organizations with a permanent endowment fund
  • Scholarship – Invest in students and their educational aspirations
  • Donor Advised – Remain actively involved in how your gift is used to help charitable causes

To learn more about the types of funds at the Community Foundation, please refer to our detailed descriptions and answers to some frequently asked questions found by clicking here.

What Investment Strategies are Typically Used to Grow the Fund?

Investment options and fees vary by type of fund. The Community Foundation invests endowed Donor Advised Funds in its endowment pool. Donors to non-endowed Donor Advised Funds may recommend one of five investment strategies with American Funds. For more details on available investment strategies, please click here.

For a consultation, please contact our Philanthropic Services department at 313.961.6675.

Donor and Business Advised Funds

Donor Advised

For those who prefer to be actively engaged in charitable giving, donor advised funds offer a simple and effective way to support the causes and organizations you care about, while streamlining administration, reducing costs, benefiting from professional staff support and gaining significant tax advantages.

Donor advised funds are flexible. They can be used for annual gifting, creating charitable cash reserves to fund future charitable grants, doing philanthropic giving with other family members, and establishing a charitable legacy. Whatever your goals may be, and whatever causes are most important to you, our staff will help you develop a plan that meets your objectives.

To learn more about the difference between Donor Advised Funds, Supporting Organizations and Private Foundations, please click here.

Donor Advised Funds:

  • Allow for continued involvement in making grant recommendations from the fund to any U.S.-based public charity
  • Offer most of the benefits of a family foundation
  • Build a family or business tradition of philanthropy
  • Generate an immediate charitable income-tax deduction for gifts into the fund
  • Avoid capital gains on gifts of appreciated, long-term assets
  • Provide either public recognition or anonymity – as you choose
  • Free donors from tax recordkeeping, administrative burdens and expenses
  • Avoid the private foundation investment excise tax and mandatory payout requirements
  • Include professional management services and a choice of investment strategies to meet your charitable objectives
  • Can be organized as a permanent or non-permanent named fund
  • Can be established with a gift of $10,000 or more

In addition to the benefits described above, the following applies to our Non-Endowed, Endowed and Business Advised Funds. 

Non-Endowed Funds

  • Provide the flexibility of making all of their assets available for grantmaking
  • Provide access to our five available asset allocations or custom investment arrangements for funds of $1 million or more

Endowed Donor Advised Funds

  • Create a permanent legacy of your generosity that grows over time
  • Provide access to our endowment pool investment allocation or custom investment arrangements for funds of $1 million or more

Business Advised Funds

  • An alternative to creating a corporate charitable foundation
  • A demonstration of your company’s commitment to the community
  • A reliable source for charitable giving, in order to maintain the presence of the business in the community in spite of unpredictable revenue cycles
  • May be endowed or non-endowed

Donor Advised Funds FAQs

What exactly is a donor advised fund and how does it work?

A donor advised fund is a fund within the Community Foundation established by an individual, a family, a business or a foundation with a gift of $10,000 or more. Fund advisors, designated by the donor, make recommendations on grants and fund investments. If desired, the Community Foundation’s professional staff can support donors by researching charities, working with fund advisors to develop a mission statement, and conferring with your professional advisors on charitable planning.

What kinds of grant recommendations can be made by donor advisors?

The minimum grant is $250 and all grant recommendations must benefit a public charity based in the United States. Grants cannot be used to satisfy any obligation of a pledge made by fund advisors to the charity, nor can they result in a direct benefit to any advisor. For example, grants cannot be used to gain membership in an organization or to purchase a table at a fundraising event. All grant recommendations are subject to approval by the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees. With endowed donor advised funds, grant recommendations can be made against the annual amount available for grants. In a non-endowed donor advised fund, grants may equal the entire value of the fund.

Grants to benefit charitable programs in foreign countries can typically be made through a U.S.-based intermediary. In limited circumstances, grants can be recommended overseas, but several federal anti-terrorism and other regulations must be met.

Click here to learn more about recommending grants from an advised fund or contact the Philanthropic Services department at 313.961.6675 to answer any additional questions.

Who is eligible to be a fund advisor and how long do they serve?

Anyone can be a fund advisor. Community Foundation policy currently allows for up to two generations of advisors. Following the death or resignation of the last advisor, the remaining fund balance is held as a permanent endowment fund in the name selected by the donor. In the case of business advised funds or those established by another foundation, the Community Foundation and the donor work together to determine the advisors and their length of service.

What investment strategies are typically used to grow the fund?

Investment options and fees vary by type of fund. The Community Foundation invests endowed Donor Advised Funds in its endowment pool. Donors to non-endowed Donor Advised Funds may recommend one of five investment strategies with American Funds. For more details on available investment strategies, please click here. Custom investment allocations can be arranged while there are donor advisors serving and if the fund is in excess of $1 million.

For a consultation, please contact our Philanthropic Services department at 313.961.6675, or complete the donor advised fund application found here.

Understanding Endowment

The Importance of Endowment

Endowment funds are important for a variety of reasons. The most prominent of these is that an endowment provides a source of ongoing annual support to address charitable causes. This source of funding can be invaluable in uncertain economic times when other support may no longer be available. During stronger economic periods, an endowment can provide funding to expand support and act as seed money for the development of new programs and services.

Endowment also provides intangible benefits. An endowment is a perfect way to create a lasting legacy reflecting support of a charitable cause or of the community by you, your family or your business. A nonprofit organization that establishes an endowment, is announcing to its donors that the organization will be here fulfilling its mission for decades to come. An endowment can also provide financial security to those organizations taking on new challenges and seizing new opportunities as they arise.

What is an endowment?

An endowment is a pool of assets – a portion of which is made available for charitable purposes annually. The remaining assets and investment returns are retained in the endowment to provide for growth of the endowment over time. An increasing amount of support will be available from the endowment over time as it grows. Historically, endowments were defined as funds that only expended their “income” for charitable purposes. This “income” definition is now outdated as it does not reflect current investment management philosophies or could lead to a belief that no or limited funds are available from the endowment. Rather, modern endowment management makes a “portion” (not limited to “income”) of the endowment available to support the charitable causes you care about.

Why create an endowment with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan?

The Community Foundation exists to create a permanent source of community capital benefiting the residents of southeast Michigan in perpetuity. The Community Foundation knows how to manage and invest endowments in a way that fulfills the charitable goals of our supporters. We can help you create an endowment that will meet your expectations and address those issues you care most about.

Forever is a long time – what happens if the purpose for which you set up an endowment changes?

The Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation is required to assure that the endowment fund you create fulfills your charitable goals. If the purpose of the endowment ever becomes impractical, illegal, obsolete or incapable of fulfillment, our Board will modify the endowment agreement to as closely as possible meet your charitable desires. This variance power assures you that your philanthropy will always remain relevant – now and hundreds of years from now.

More information

Please contact our Philanthropic Services staff at 313.961.6675 if you have any additional questions regarding how we can assist you in your charitable endeavors.

Supporting Organizations

Supporting Organizations offer donors significant advantages — including favorable tax status and full participation in grantmaking and investment decisions — while avoiding the financial and management burdens that private foundations often encounter. A Supporting Organization is a separate corporation managed by the Community Foundation. These public charities have separate Boards of Trustees and may have separate investment counselors. Supporting Organizations benefit from the professional support of Community Foundation staff, who assist in the administration of their funds.

Donors can establish a new supporting organization with a $5 million endowment. An existing private foundation with $5 million or more in assets can be converted or terminated into a supporting organization at the Community Foundation.

A Supporting Organization:

  • Enables donors to achieve their philanthropic goals
  • Generates significant tax advantages compared to a private foundation
  • Places fewer restrictions on giving and grantmaking than private foundations
  • Can be established with a minimum contribution of $5 million

Private Foundations

The Community Foundation provides a variety of fee-based, back-office services for private foundations to help them minimize administrative costs and maximize charitable impact. These include:

  • Recommending worthy organizations for grants
  • Developing charitable mission statements
  • Connecting donors with similar interests
  • Grant administration and check-processing
  • Financial reporting

Donor Bill of Rights

As a donor to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, you are entitled to:

  • Receive information about the Community Foundation’s administrative fees and its spending and investment policies
  • Receive prompt gift acknowledgments
  • Be listed as a donor in Community Foundation annual reports and other publications, unless you have requested to remain anonymous
  • Be added to the Community Foundation’s mailing list, unless you have requested no mail be sent to you
  • Receive Community Foundation publications, including an annual report with financial information or information on grantmaking and/or the staff and Board of Trustees
  • Be assured that any information about the size and type of your gift, and the size of any fund you establish, will be held in confidence, unless you grant permission to share such information
  • Be assured that your gift will be used for the purposes for which it was given
  • Request information on gift and fund acceptance policies
  • Receive, upon request, an annual fund statement for a fund that you establish with the Community Foundation

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan does not sell, rent, share, or otherwise provide any personally identifiable information about donors to anyone for their independent use.

Family Philanthropy

Engage Younger Family Members in Philanthropy

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is often asked to provide guidance on how to educate and engage the whole family in philanthropy. Here are a few successful techniques we recommend.

Share the Spirit of Giving

Share your enthusiasm and vision of philanthropy with younger family members. Just as most successful charitable campaigns are the result of volunteers and board members sharing their passion with peers, members of a family can be motivated by the words and actions of parents and grandparents.

Provide Opportunities to Become Involved

It is also important to provide an environment where younger family members can take a role in philanthropy. This process helps to engage these family members in the ideals and concerns of the parents.

Children and Grandchildren

Some people find it useful to involve young children and grandchildren in charitable giving decisions, sometimes allocating a portion of their budgeted assets for charitable giving to be suggested by the children and grandchildren.

Formalizing the Family Philanthropy

A family can establish a donor advised fund or a supporting organization at the Community Foundation in order to use it as a vehicle to engage other family members in philanthropy. The family enjoys all the recognition of a private foundation while benefiting  from the support of our expert staff, without the initial and ongoing costs, tax constraints, and administrative and regulatory burdens of managing a private foundation.

The Community Foundation can help the family develop a mission statement and grantmaking guidelines. Our staff can also help educate the family on community needs and opportunities that they might not be aware of.

The Community Foundation can also serve as a facilitator to gather all family members together and help pass along the parents’ and grandparents’ ideals to the younger generation. Lastly, the Community Foundation’s staff and record keeping can help preserve the ideals and goals of the original family members and can help pass along those ideals to future generations.


Give Now

Giving through the Community Foundation Unrestricted Fund means your gift will be used strategically to help address the emerging needs of our region, wherever the need is greatest. The Community Foundation’s expert staff and Board of Trustees strategically direct these resources wherever need is greatest to improve life in our region. You can also give to support our operations or one of hundreds of existing endowments at the Community Foundation.

Give Online

Online gifts must be $10 or more.

Tax-exempt Status

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a tax-exempt public charity. Our federal EIN/tax identification number is 38-2530980. To view our tax exemption letter from the IRS, please click here.