Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Ripley County Community Foundation?

The Community Foundation helps people of all means improve their community now and in the future.  A public foundation, we help donors provide grant-making dollars for non-profit organizations that serve Ripley County citizens.

2. How is the Ripley County Community Foundation operated?

Fifteen volunteer board members donate their time and talents to serve as foundation ambassadors and oversee the administration of assets and investments.  Several other community volunteers serve on various foundation committees. Paid staff members manage the day-to-day operation.

3. What is the difference between charity and philanthropy?

Charity is money given to meet an immediate need – food for hungry people, shelter for the homeless.  Philanthropy also provides charitable funds but it is more strategic, aiming for long-term improvements.  It requires not just money but human resources, innovative thinking and effective follow-up.

4. Is Ripley County Community Foundation a "charity" itself?

Yes.  The Community Foundation is a charitable organization under the tax code and relies on public support of its operating costs.  However, our primary role is to encourage and administer philanthropy to benefit effective programming and projects throughout the community.  People give through the Community Foundation to the community.

5. What is an endowment?

To the Community Foundation, an endowment gift is a permanent gift that cannot be spent.  The gift is invested for growth and income and a portion of the income is granted each year to support charitable causes.  Most of the Community Foundation’s funds are endowments.

6. How can I start an endowment fund?

You would need to speak to the staff about your intended fund.  An agreement form would be developed indicating your wishes and would need Board approval.  A minimum of $5,000 must be gifted to start a named endowment fund.

7. Why establish a fund with Ripley County Community Foundation instead of giving directly to a favorite charity?

A gift to the Community Foundation to support a favorite charity or cause is a permanent gift that will produce income forever.  A donor who supports a particular charity with an annual gift can continue to support the charity forever by making a permanent gift to the community foundation for that charity in his/her will.

8. What does Ripley County Community Foundation charge?

The Community Foundation provides a variety of administrative services to donors, including investment management, gift acceptance and receipt, and filing of tax and legal documents.  The annual fee for endowments is 1% of the designated fund’s value.

9. Is Ripley County Community Foundation set up to serve only wealthy people?

No. Anyone can be a philanthropist by making a donation to any of the Community Foundation’s funds.  There are more than 60 funds to choose from.

10. How does Ripley County Community Foundation decide how to distribute grant funds?

A volunteer Grant Committee recommends grants made each year by the Community Foundation.  The committee reviews grant proposals for many charitable purposes – arts and culture, community development, education, environment, health and human services and youth development. A separate volunteer Scholarship Committee reviews and recommends educational awards.  Donors who have created community foundation funds recommend all other grants.