Plan Frequently Asked Questions

From time to time we are asked how Inland Northwest Community Foundation (INWCF) works in the community and how we help donors achieve excellence in their philanthropy.

  • Why should I use INWCF for my charitable giving?
  • What are the tax benefits of giving with INWCF?
  • How do I know that INWCF is financially accountable?
  • How do I decide what kind of fund to establish?
  • What is the difference between an endowed fund and a pass-through fund?
  • What fees are charged to the funds?
  • Who administers the assets?
  • What information do donors receive?
  • In what ways are funds distributed from individual funds to the community?

Why should I use INWCF for my charitable giving?
Giving through INWCF can help you focus your philanthropy for maximum impact. We offer a full range of donor services and programs to help you navigate your path to philanthropy. As an INWCF donor, you qualify for tax savings and you benefit from the management and investment services we provide for your charitable dollars. You also have access to resources to help you identify charities that best match your interests. In addition, because we regularly monitor the progress of nonprofit agencies, we can provide accountability that the charities are using your gift as intended.

What are the tax benefits of giving through INWCF?
Because we are a community foundation we are a fully tax-exempt foundation, which means donors receive the highest possible tax deductions for their contributions. Your invested charitable dollars are not subject to excise taxes and payout requirements that apply to private foundations.

How do I know that INWCF is financially accountable?
An independent audit of our financial statements is performed annually by Schoedel & Schoedel CPAs, PLLC. Our financial information, investment earnings and charitable gift reporting is available to the public, although your personal financial information is kept confidential.  As an advisor to your fund, you have online access to your fund information through our secure Web site.

How do I decide what kind of fund to establish?
This depends on whether you wish to have ongoing involvement in distributing money from your fund of if you prefer to have us make distribution decisions to meet the communities’ greatest needs and most promising opportunities. Other factors include whether you want succeeding generations to give through your fund or if you want the fund to exist for your lifetime only. Other questions to consider: How specific are your interests? Do you want to set up a life-income plan to provide income to designated individuals with the remainder going to charity? Do you prefer administrative help with a large fund? For more details, please see our fund descriptions in the Fund Types section.

What is the difference between an endowed fund and a pass-through fund?
Principal in pass-through funds can be distributed to charities at the timing you choose. On the other hand, endowed funds are intended to leave a permanent legacy. With endowed funds, the original contribution or principal remains in the account to generate earnings; a portion of the interest is then available to be distributed to the nonprofit organizations of your choice year after year. Please refer to our Endowment Distribution Policy for more information about how we calculate the amount available to spend from your endowed fund. You can opt to convert your fund from non-endowed to endowed.

What fees are charged to the funds?
Fees vary depending on the nature of the fund averaging 1.25%. There are never any set-up fees and pass-through funds have no annual fees. Endowed funds are charged 1% - 2% depending on the type of fund. Please go to the  fund administrative fee schedule for more information.

Who administers the assets?
A finance/investment committee composed of experienced professionals oversees the management of INWCF invested assets with input and advice from consultant Fund Evaluation Group who helps with the selection and monitoring of investment managers who specialize in institutional endowments. Fund Evaluation Group employs analysts that help ensure a well-balanced asset allocation. Please go to Financial Information.

What information do donors receive?
Donors receive our annual report and have access instantly to online information about their fund, balance, gift history and for donor-advised funds to their grant recommendations.

In what ways are funds distributed from individual funds to the community?
The community foundation distributes funds based on the request and recommendation of the donors. Donors choose the type of fund that best fits their charitable goals. Some donors designate the charities that will benefit when they set up a fund. Others reserve the option to make recommendations as opportunities to give occur. The Foundation reviews donor designations and recommendations using criteria established by our board of directors in accordance with IRS guidelines. We verify that the proposed grantee is recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization in good standing.

In addition to donor requests, distributions can also be made through competitive grant processes, projects and scholarships. Donors who wish to support the communities’ greatest needs and most compelling opportunities can select the type of fund that is unrestricted or discretionary, called a community fund.