We have helped hundreds of donors establish personally meaningful charitable funds that make an enduring impact on the issues and nonprofits of interest to them.

Types of Funds Graphic

Find the Fund for You

There are several different types of charitable funds that you can choose to create – each with its own distinct advantages and capabilities. We stand ready to work with you – and your professional advisor – to walk you through the choices and help identify the best options for you.

As you consider the various possibilities open to you, keep in mind that:

Start Your Research Here

A Donor-Advised Fund allows individuals, families, civic organizations and businesses to choose the particular nonprofits they would like to support and the specific level of support they would like to provide.

Important Fund Attributes

  • These funds allow the donor – or persons designated by the donor – to make their own grant recommendations. The donor specifies the charitable organizations that will benefit from the fund, as well as the amount of the grant each organization will receive.
  • These funds are popular among donors who prefer to have ongoing involvement in their charitable giving; and offer a cost-effective, time-saving alternative to establishing a private foundation.
  • These funds are excellent vehicles for setting aside charitable dollars now and distributing them gradually over time. They can be set up as charitable investment accounts, with a portion of the fund’s income available for distribution annually or as needs arise.
  • Grants issued through these funds are not limited to specific charitable organizations or areas of charitable interest.
  • Donors can designate their children or other loved ones to serve as their “successor advisors” and specify how the fund may be transitioned to continue to honor their charitable wishes upon the death of their last designated successor advisor.
  • Approximately 118 area donors have established Donor-Advised Funds with us.


A Designated Fund allows donors to designate one or more specific nonprofits they would like to support continuously.

Important Fund Attributes

  • These funds allow donors to specify the charitable organizations that will receive annual grants from the fund. They are an effective way to provide ongoing support to organizations that matter to you.
  • These funds allow the donor – or persons designated by the donor – to make their own grant recommendations.
  • Grants issued through these funds are limited to the specific charitable organizations that donors designate when the funds are established.
  • If a designated nonprofit should go out of business, the donor can choose another similar charity to support (our foundation can also assume this responsibility if the donor is no longer living).
  • These funds may be established by a gift during the donor’s lifetime or as a Planned Gift during estate planning.
  • More than 70 area donors have established Designated Funds with us.

A Field of Interest fund allows donors to support issues of broad charitable concern that are of importance to them.

Important Fund Attributes

  • These funds allow donors, when they create the fund, to designate the specific fields of charitable interest the funds will support. These “fields of interest” can consist of a specific charitable issue – such as youth empowerment, health and human services, environmental protection and animal welfare – or a specific community or population.
  • These funds give donors the flexibility to provide grants to emerging nonprofits or new programs that address their charitable interests. They offer a broad, far-reaching way for donors to ensure their favorite causes enjoy ongoing support.
  • Our foundation handles the grantmaking process. We solicit grant proposals from nonprofits in the designated field of interest, then convene a Grants Committee that reviews the proposals; vets the nonprofits to ensure they are effective in their missions and match your intentions; and awards grants to the nonprofits that offer the most promising programs, projects and solutions.
  • Approximately 90 area donors have established Field of Interest Funds with us.

A Scholarship Fund allows donors to provide financial assistance for area students at qualified educational institutions.

Important Fund Attributes

  • These funds enable donors to help open doors to education opportunities for local students.
  • Donors specify the eligibility criteria for the scholarships, including the geographic area from which the students come, the educational institution the students attend, the areas of study they will pursue and their level of academic achievement and community involvement.
  • Donors choose whether scholarships are awarded based on need or merit.
  • We convene our Scholarship Committees, which review the Scholarship Applications and select the scholarship recipients, ensuring that recipients meet all qualifying criteria.
  • All of our scholarship funds are endowed, meaning they are distributed in a way that allows them to provide scholarships forever.
  • More than 124 area donors have established Scholarship Funds with us. Read more About Our Scholarships

An Unrestricted Fund allows donors to address the community’s greatest needs as they emerge, no matter how those needs may change over time.

Important Fund Attributes

  • These funds enable our foundation to address the most pressing community issues as they arise and to respond effectively to changing needs in Eastern Connecticut. They can be used to support new and innovative programs and ideas, as well as nonprofits addressing new challenges.
  • Our foundation is responsible for identifying and documenting community needs and overseeing the fund’s administration.
  • Our foundation also handles the grantmaking process. We solicit grant proposals from appropriate nonprofits, then convene a Grants Committee that reviews the proposals; vets the nonprofits to ensure they are effective in their missions; and awards grants to the nonprofits that offer the most promising programs, projects and solutions.
  • Approximately 95 area donors have established Unrestricted Funds with us.

A Sustainability Fund allows donors to ensure our community foundation continues to excel in its role as a philanthropic leader.

Important Fund Attributes

  • These funds enable us to maintain and strengthen our role as the hub for meaningful philanthropy for 42 thriving communities in the eastern part of our state.
  • They enable us to serve our donors and nonprofit partners efficiently and cost effectively, and keep our administrative and investment fees as low as possible.
  • These funds enable us to continue our work to establish powerful, sustainable charitable funds that reflect the passions of generous area donors; issue the annual charitable grants to nonprofits and scholarships to students that are made possible through these funds; help local nonprofit organizations strengthen their capabilities; and serve our community as a neutral, common meeting ground where regional leaders can convene to address community needs.
  • More than 16 area donors have established Sustainability Funds with us.
  • Read more about Our Work and Our Priorities

An Agency Endowment enables nonprofit organizations to establish a charitable fund at our foundation that produces a predictable, perpetual revenue stream that supports their operations and programs.

Important Fund Attributes

  • These funds enable nonprofit organizations to partner with us in the management of their endowment by taking advantage of Our Investment Strategies – which include a proven, diversified, asset-allocation approach and lower investment expenses than they could typically receive on their own.
  • While an agency’s funds are invested as part of our overall investment pool, they are tracked as distinct funds. We annually distribute a portion of the fund back to the nonprofit according to a pre-determined spending formula, which is carefully calculated to enable the funds to grow while providing a reliable income stream.
  • These nonprofit partners enjoy access to the full range of expertise available from our foundation to help them not only build their endowment, but strengthen their organization and overall effectiveness.
  • Approximately 55 nonprofits have established Agency Endowments with our foundation.

Supporting Foundations are nonprofit organizations which enjoy special tax benefits in return for their support of public nonprofit organizations such as our foundation.

Important Fund Attributes

  • Supporting Foundations maintain their own separate legal status and board of directors, and are responsible for establishing their own investment and grantmaking strategies and policies.
  • Our foundation, under terms of the federal tax law, appoint a majority of your Supporting Foundation’s directors; donors either appoint – or serve as – the other members of the board of directors.
  • Our foundation handles all of the administrative, financial and regulatory reporting responsibilities, enabling the board and donors to focus solely on the grantmaking process.
  • Read more about Alternatives for Private Foundations

Need more help with fund selection?

We decided to create a scholarship fund as a result of the growing conversations about equity in the United States. These conversations have challenged us to consider how we can be part of a movement for change. We both recognize the value of education, and have been able to pursue fruitful and rewarding careers as a result of our college degrees. Sponsoring a recurring scholarship for underrepresented students is one small way in which we can help young people in our community pursue their own higher education.

- The Johnson Family