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Creating a charitable fund is a unique, personal and highly effective way to make a difference in our community – not only today, but also for generations to come.

The Foundation’s more than 1,200 charitable funds are as distinctive as the charitable interests and intentions of the individuals, families and organizations that created them. Many support specific issue areas or geographic regions. All leave a powerful legacy. 

Explore Your Options

Before you meet with your professional advisor or Foundation staff, these resources will help you consider all of your options:


6 Steps to Get Started

Take the first steps toward creating the personalized giving plan that’s right for you and your family.


Determine Your Gift Structure

Discover how to structure your best gift – one that brings your philanthropic plan to life and benefits your community.


Decide What to Give

Consider a wide range of types of assets for your gift. 


Fund Types

The Foundation offers many fund types. You may create one fund or multiple types of funds, depending on your goals and the amount you plan to give. 

Funds are simple to create, have no start-up costs, and are tax-deductible.


Unrestricted Funds  

($10,000 minimum)

Help address the region’s most urgent needs as they change over time. Support the most promising, creative approaches to strengthening our region.  

The income from unrestricted funds is pooled together to support the Foundation's broad grantmaking throughout Greater Hartford. Approximately 45% of the Foundation’s total endowment is held in unrestricted funds, giving us the flexibility to meet critical needs and respond to opportunities into the future.

Donor-Advised Funds  

($25,000 minimum)

Take an active role in your grantmaking. Partner with the Foundation to support your areas of interest, even as those interests change.

Donor-advised funds offer the greatest flexibility to meet your charitable needs. You recommend grants from your fund to qualified nonprofit organizations throughout Greater Hartford and across the country.  

When choosing organizations or structuring your grant, you can take advantage of the Foundation staff’s expertise on grantmaking and the region’s nonprofit community. You can even involve other family members or future generations in making recommendations.

To compare donor-advised funds to other options, download this chart.

Click here to review our Donor-Advised Fund Guidelines.

Scholarship Funds  

($50,000 minimum)

Support a college education for deserving young people or enterprising adults through the Foundation’s College Scholarship Program or separate scholarships. 

With an Individual Scholarship Fund, you can specify student selection criteria. Our knowledgeable staff can help you fine-tune your support to meet your charitable goals.

You, or other fund representatives, may also participate in the Foundation’s board-approved selection process. The Foundation handles all scholarship marketing, distributions and renewals.

Note on the fund minimum: If $50,000 is too large a commitment, you can give any amount to the Foundation's General Scholarship Endowment Fund, where a $10,000 gift allows you to name an annual scholarship award.

Learn more about the Hartford Foundation College Scholarship Program. 

Field-of-Interest Funds  

($10,000 minimum)

Impact a specific interest area, population or town, while tapping into the Foundation’s expertise and knowledge.

Field-of-interest funds combine your interests with the flexibility to respond to changing needs and organizations. Foundation staff will annually identify organizations performing effectively within your chosen focus and award grants from your fund accordingly.

Designated Funds  

($10,000 minimum)

Support your favorite charities with peace of mind, knowing that your fund will live on permanently at the Foundation and continue to impact the community.

A designated fund allows you to give one or more charitable organizations ongoing support. We send these organizations updates on the fund’s value, as well as the income, as long as they continue to carry out their stated charitable purpose.

If the organizations you designated change and no longer serve your intended purpose, or they cease to exist, the Foundation will redirect the income to a purpose as close as possible to your original cause.

Organizational Endowment Fund  

($10,000 minimum) 

Many nonprofits establish funds at the Hartford Foundation as a simple and efficient way to build an endowment and help create sustainability for their organization.

Organizational endowment funds provide a long-term, dependable source of revenue to nonprofits. The Foundation currently manages 29 nonprofit endowment funds for various nonprofits in the region, including the Simsbury Land Trust, The Bridge Family Center and TheaterWorks.

Build-up Option

For all of the fund types, donors can establish a fund with $1,000 or more, and build it up over an agreed-upon span of time. During the build-up phase, all contributions and earned investment income accumulates until the fund balance reaches the minimums stated above. At that point, the fund will become active.



Administrative Fees

Administrative fees are applicable to various types of funds. The Foundation’s administrative fees are among the lowest of all community foundations.

  • Administrative fees are calculated on the principal balance of each fund and are charged directly to the fund.
  • Fees cover the services provided by the Foundation's staff and all administrative costs.
  • Fees are spread over a substantial asset base, so fees to any one fund are modest.
Investment-Related Fees 

In addition to administrative fees, the Foundation incurs investment-related fees, which are netted out of investment results before fund balances are reported to the donor.

  • The full costs of the Foundation’s investment-related activities on an annual basis generally range from 85 to 90 basis points of the endowment portfolio average market value.
  • The cost of the services of the professional investment managers retained by the Foundation represents approximately 65 to 75 of the total basis points.
  • The remaining costs covered by these fees are the costs of custody of the assets, investment consulting services, and the administrative fees of the Trustee (if applicable to a given fund).
Admin. Fees in Basis Points 
Unrestricted Fund 100
Field of Interest Fund 100 
Donor-Advised Fund 100 (first $500,000), 90 (next $500,000 to $1 MM), 85 (next $1 MM to $1.5 MM), 60 (next $1.5 MM to $4 MM), 55 (next $4M to $5M), 50 (over $5 MM)
Named Award in the General Endowment Scholarship Fund 140 
Individual Scholarship Fund  150
Designated Fund  60 (first $1MM)45 (next $1 MM to $2 MM)35 (over $2 MM)
Build-Up Fund  60


(effective January 1, 2010)

1 A basis point is one one hundredth of 1% (.01%).



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