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Estate Planning through the Community Foundation

As we age, we think about the many plans we need to put in place, but one we often overlook is our plan for giving. You have a passion for helping, caring for our community and want to keep that going now and after you are gone. One of the best ways to set up a long term strategic giving plan is with the help of a community foundation. A community foundation allows you to set up your own charitable fund, giving as much as you want, to whom you want, for as long as you want.

What does planned giving through a community foundation do for you?

  • Provides tools and resources which help individuals, families, and businesses achieve their charitable and financial goals.
  • Helps donors create charitable funds to support the issues, charities, and passions they care about most.
  • Handles all record keeping, reporting to the IRS, accounting, and investment management while continuing to grow your donated funds to help you make a lasting financial impact even after you are gone.
  • Allow donors to benefit from the highest available tax deductions for charitable contributions.
  • Helps you create a lasting legacy now and for future generation.

Community foundations have the resources and expertise to help guide your through the entire process of starting your charitable giving strategy and make it easy with three simple steps.

Step One: Determine the assets you wish to use to start your fund. Examples include cash, publicly traded or closely held securities, real estate or personal property, or life insurance policies. These assets can be given at any time… now, ongoing, or through your will.

Giving to your fund through any of these assets accomplishes two important tax objectives: a charitable income tax deduction in the year of the gift and the reduction of the gross estate for future estate planning purposes. In addition, donors eliminate capital gains taxes for gifts of appreciated property. Establishing a fund allows you to give more to what you love and less to taxes and fees.

Step Two: Choose a name for your fund. Many choose to name their fund after themselves or their families for example “The Johnson Family Fund.” It is a great way to continue your family legacy and encourage a life of philanthropy for generations. You can also choose to name your fund for a specific passion or area of interest you care deeply about or even remain anonymous.

Step Three: Choose what you would like to support and for what length of time. You decide what charities, organizations or specific areas of interests you are most passionate about and want to support for lifetimes to come. Do you love the arts, have a passion for helping children, value education and leadership, whatever pulls at your heart, we can help you fund that entity or interest area.

These three basic steps are the building blocks for creating a fund to begin your long term strategic giving plan. There are a variety of types of funds, avenues of giving, ways to grow your assets, and tax breaks and incentives that can be taken advantage of as you set up your fund. To get more personalized information and dive deeper into a strategic giving plan that is specifically designed for you, contact your regional community foundation to set up an appointment.

The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, and Region and can be reached at 701-746-0668 or

2017 Alerus Scholarship Recipients

Each year, through a Community Foundation designated scholarship fund, Alerus awards the follow scholarships:

Alerus Aspire Higher Scholarship for $500 – Helping students aspire higher in their education and career.
Alerus Community Connect Scholarship for $1000 – Encouraging students to develop a life of giving and philanthropy.

This year’s 13 recipients are:

Brittany Benson, Grand Forks, ND
Michael Fenske, Shoreview, MN
David Hettich, Grand Forks, ND
Gracie Lian, Grand Forks, ND
Eric Millette, Grand Forks, ND
Grace Netz, Grand Forks, ND
Maria Nowak, Duluth, MN
Gina Olson, St. Cloud, MN
Ryan Pilon, Grand Forks, ND
Patrick Sheldon, Mahtomedi, MN
Nicole Thorson, Grand Forks, ND
Grace Vetter, East Grand Forks, MN
Molly Westerberg, Eden Prairie, MN

Congratulations to all the recipients! For more information about the Alerus Scholarship Fund, visit

Community Foundation Grant Application Deadline for 2017 is TBA


2017 Grant Round

Community Foundation grants will be awarded to non-profits whose applications focus on meeting the needs of the community by addressing area issues, seizing opportunities, and improving the quality of life. Grants in this area support arts and culture, community and human services, education, human rights, disaster relief, downtown, and the Greenway.

Community Foundation – Women’s Fund applications, which will be awarded to non-profits whose applications provide ideas, energy and resources so that girls and women in our community are empowered to achieve economic, social and political equality.

Both grant application deadlines will be announced. To register, visit and fill out the online registration. PLEASE NOTE: you must be registered and approved before submitting an application.

More information on all Community Foundation grants, grant guidelines, and other funding sources can be found at or by contacting the Community Foundation at 701-746-0668 or

About the Community Foundation

The Community Foundation is dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of this region to participate in a vibrant and successful society. The Foundation’s grant-making focuses on nonprofits organizations working in arts, education, community and human services, human rights, women and girls, and the Greenway.

The Foundation has nearly $10M in assets with over 100 endowments comprised of organizational, designated, field of interest, and donor advised family funds. By building philanthropic resources, addressing charitable needs, and creating community partnerships, the Foundation works to be a leader in regional philanthropy. For more information about the Community Foundation, please visit or call 701-746-0668.