There’s a lot of information floating around out there about what community foundations are and do. We’re here to help clear up some of the confusion. 

Top 4 Community Foundation Myths: Debunked

Below is a list of the top five community foundation myths, along with the truth about them. 

Community Foundation Myth #1

MYTH: You must be wealthy to give to a community foundation.

FACT: All sized gifts are combined to collectively address community challenges and opportunities. Last year, almost 40% of the gifts made to The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation were under $100.

Community Foundation Myth #2

MYTH: Community foundations are exclusively for retired people.

FACT: Community foundations impact everyone in a community! At The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, the grants provided to for-impact partner organizations improve the lives of our youngest to oldest community members. The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) consists of high school students who volunteer in the community, award grants, learn about philanthropy, and address issues. Donors represent every generation from Millennials to Baby Boomers and beyond.

Community Foundation Myth #3

MYTH: Gifts made to The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation can ONLY impact organizations in West Michigan’s Tri-Cities.

FACT: While our gifts do tend to focus on the Northwest Ottawa County area, they also enhance the quality of life throughout West Michigan and beyond. When the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids had a campaign to prevent their stormwater from reaching the Grand River, the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation provided support to help the only zoo improve the water quality in our local community. People who create donor advised funds make most of their gifts locally, but some give to national organizations or their alma maters as well.

Community Foundation Myth #4

MYTH: Community foundations are confusing, and I can never figure out how they work. 

FACT: Community foundations don’t have to be confusing, and they’re full of friendly people and great resources to help guide you through the process of charitable giving — we promise! Here’s a very simplified overview of how a community foundation works: 

Donors give to a fund at their local community foundation. That money is invested by the foundation and grows. The revenue from it is then used to impact the community through grants. 

At The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, our vision is to advance the wellbeing of our communities by creating the very best places where we can all learn, live, work, and engage. If you’re thinking about donating to a fund, we’d love to help you figure out the process so that your donations are made in the most effective and meaningful way possible. Give us a call at 616-842-6378 or contact us online to learn more.