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Private Foundation

Wealth Manager






I’m Steven Cox, partner at Roetzel & Andress. As an attorney who specializes in helping families plan their taxes, estates and business succession, I’ve learned that relationships are the key to success.

A common theme I find in my client relationships is a desire to leave a charitable legacy. Yet, many of my clients mistake philanthropy as something for the ultra-wealthy or people who have their own private foundations.

Thanks to Akron Community Foundation, that is not the case.

Through a donor-advised fund at the community foundation, my clients can recommend grants in their business’ or family’s name without the cost or management of a private foundation. In many ways, donor-advised funds are a more cost-effective way for families to leave their legacy: They have the entire community foundation staff working for them at no added expense.

Perhaps your client wants to involve their children in their grantmaking. The community foundation offers multi-generational advisory succession. Perhaps they want help finding the most efficient and effective nonprofits to support in the community. The community foundation can help them with that, too.

While I don’t profit financially when my clients establish a fund at the community foundation, it often creates an opportunity for me to be involved with their children and grandchildren. It’s a fantastic way to build goodwill, and those relationships nearly always pay off in the form of business down the road.

Maybe you practice broadly. Akron Community Foundation can be your professional partner, adding charitable services to your portfolio of offerings. Or maybe you’re like me and are simply committed to building strong client relationships. In either case, I encourage you to see what Akron Community Foundation can do for you.

At Akron Community Foundation, we offer attorneys the tools they need to serve their clients charitably. What can we help you with?

I need a resource I can turn to for information about charitable giving.

Akron Community Foundation is like having an expert on charitable giving and the local nonprofit sector on speed dial. We arm you with knowledge that you can later pass on to your clients when they ask questions about philanthropy. Our online tools and calculators give you 24/7 access to the information you need, and our staff is always available for personal meetings. We can help you and your client explore exciting options, including types of funds, planned giving, leaving a legacy, charitable bequests, the best assets to give, and more.

My client wants to leave a permanent charitable legacy.

Our goal is to help your client achieve their philanthropic dreams, however specific or broad they may be. Grants from an endowed fund are made in perpetuity in your client's name and are celebrated through our grant announcements, annual reports and media releases, should your client wish. Even if the charity your client names ceases to exist, our staff will find another charity with the same mission to ensure the fund continues to support the cause of their choice. We can preserve even the most specific of charitable intents, from spaying feral cats to attracting students to the field of entomology. That way, 100 years from now, your client's family will still be supporting the causes they care about, and their charitable values will be upheld. 

My client wants to include their children and grandchildren in their philanthropy.

You can easily help your client create a family legacy with a fund at the community foundation. Akron Community Foundation offers fundholders the ability to name their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or other family members as successor advisors who recommend grants from their fund. By communicating with your client about their family's charitable goals and values, you can help them carry on a legacy for years to come. 

Our donor services staff meets with families throughout the year – at the community foundation offices and in their home – to facilitate talks about charitable giving. If your client wishes, our staff can even offer a list of fully vetted nonprofit programs in the family's area of charitable interest. Children especially enjoy learning about local programs and selecting their favorite organizations to receive grants. In addition, by involving your client's children and grandchildren in their philanthropy, you build relationships with the next generation of their family, ensuring a strong connection for years to come. 

My client wants insight into which local nonprofits are doing what and well.

Donor advisors can take advantage of the community foundation’s deep knowledge of the region’s nonprofits. We offer your client potential grant opportunities based on their area of interest and give them insight into local issues. We can even take you and your client on personal tours of area nonprofits so you can see the programs in action. This is a unique service you can offer your client that they won't find elsewhere. Or, we can contact one of the nearly 800 community foundations across the country if your client, for example, wants to recommend a grant where another family member lives. Except in extraordinary cases where significant expenses are incurred, there is no charge for this service.

My client's cash assets are limited, but they want to do something significant and charitable.

Akron Community Foundation offers planned giving instruments, such as charitable remainder trusts, that offer your client a tax break now while supporting the cause or charity of their choice after their death. Your client can do so through one of our charitable fund options, or through one of our existing funds. Some of your clients – those with moderate to high net worths, those without heirs, business owners and seniors with over-funded retirement plans – may have unique estate or tax situations that can benefit tremendously from charitable gift planning. Our knowledgeable staff can work with you and your client to help choose the best method of giving for them. We also offer tools and calculators you can use when speaking with your client. 

My client wants their financial advisor to continue managing their fund's assets.

You've come to the right place. If your client starts a donor-advised fund with an initial gift of $250,000 or more, they can recommend that their current financial advisor manage the assets of their fund, as long as he or she is in accordance with our official outside manager policy.

I want to be sure my client's charitable investments are managed prudently and at a fair rate.

All community foundation funds are carefully managed, with complete transparency in our finances, investment policies, asset allocations, managers, fees, audits and performance. All fundholders receive regular statements and can also review them online through DonorCentral.

In addition, Akron Community Foundation's investment strategy is specifically designed for long-term growth. Even in the midst of a turbulent economy, our investments have remained steady, allowing our fundholders to make grants at the same level they are accustomed to. This is possible because of our prudent spending policy, which uses a 12-quarter rolling average. The foundation's Finance and Investment Committee chooses investment managers with proven track records and continuously monitors their performance.

In terms of cost, Akron Community Foundation does not charge for any type of meeting or consultation. When establishing a fund, all normal transaction fees, such as stock transfers, are assessed to the gift. The community foundation then assesses the charitable fund – not the donor – a modest annual fee. Fees allow us to provide our fundholders with unparalleled service, including grantmaking due diligence, annual audit and tax filing, fund accounting, communications and gift management.

My client is considering starting (or closing) a private foundation.

Many people find the administrative and tax burdens of a private foundation to be overly cumbersome. By converting their private foundation to a donor-advised fund at the community foundation, your client can retain their grantmaking involvement while transferring the administrative responsibilities to the foundation's knowledgeable staff. We take care of all the paperwork, gift acknowledgment and tax reporting so your client can focus on giving back to the causes they care about. In addition, donor-advised funds do not have any mandatory payouts, so your client can take their time deciding grants each year. 

We offer an easy-to-read chart comparing the differences between a private foundation and a donor-advised fund. As always, one of our staff members is available to talk to you and your client, or your client's foundation administrator, to discuss which option would be most advantageous.