Advisor Toolkit

Please click to download the following resources in our toolkit, and do not hesitate to contact us with additional questions.

Professional Advisor Events

The Cleveland Foundation sponsors or co-sponsors several events for professional advisors throughout the year. Some of the events allow the advisors to earn continuing education credits in their fields of law, accounting, financial planning or insurance. Please check our website and look for our mailings regarding upcoming events. To stay in touch please, sign up for our Professional Advisor e-newsletter via the button below.

Creating Impact e-newsletter

Looking for fresh insights on charitable giving strategies for you and your clients? Check out recent issues of Creating Impact, our e-newsletter for professional advisors:

Sign up for our Professional Advisor e-newsletter.

Advisor FAQs


Establishing a New Fund

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What are the benefits to my client of using the Cleveland Foundation?

The Cleveland Foundation makes your client’s philanthropy simple and effective. We handle all of the administration, record-keeping, and issuance of financial statements. If your clients are uncertain about what charities or causes they wish to support, our staff can assist them in determining their philanthropic goals, suggesting charities of which they may not have been aware.

The foundation is equipped to handle a wide variety of gifts such as real estate, publicly traded and closely held stock, and life insurance.

To get started, contact us at 216-861-3810 or .

How quickly can a fund be set up?

Funds can be established in one or two days. The process is very simple, and we need only to have a signed fund agreement from your client to set up a new fund. The fund will be formally established and available for grantmaking after charitable gifts have been transferred to the foundation.

What are the fees involved in setting up a fund?

The Cleveland Foundation charges no setup fees. However, there are administrative fees charged by the foundation and investment fees charged by the investment advisor. Investment fees are tiered based on the type and size of the fund. (See our complete fee structure.)

Are there sample documents from which I can set up a fund for my client at the foundation?

Our legal counsel has drafted template documents that can be used to set up a fund at the foundation. You can find them in our professional advisor toolkit. Or feel free to contact a member of the Advancement team at 216-861-3810 to obtain a sample document.

Investment of Funds

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Where can I get information on the investment options for funds at the Cleveland Foundation?

Click here to review Cleveland Foundation investment information. Alternatively, we can send you material regarding available investment options. We work with many of the banks, investment firms and brokerages in the Cleveland area.

Where can I get information on investment returns of the foundation?

You may contact a member of the Advancement team at 216-861-3810 to obtain information about investment returns.

Donor-Advised Funds

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How does a donor-advised fund work?

A donor-advised fund may be established with a minimum gift of $10,000. At that time, your client will receive a charitable tax deduction for the gift. Your client is then free to make grant recommendations to 501(c)(3) charitable organizations from the established fund.

Can charitable funds of the Cleveland Foundation benefit geographic areas other than Greater Cleveland?

As a philanthropic partner, we help our donors work toward their charitable goals. Consequently, they are free to make grant recommendations outside of the Cleveland area. However, grants can only be made to foreign organizations if they have a United States affiliate or fiscal agent through which the grant can be made.

Can my clients involve their children in the grantmaking process?

Yes, children can be named as successor advisors to a donor-advised fund and can continue the family tradition of recommending grants. Upon the death of the successor advisors, the foundation’s board of directors will continue to make grants from the fund in accordance with client wishes.

Gifts to the Cleveland Foundation

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What types of assets can my client use to make a gift or start a fund?

The foundation has the ability to accept a wide range of assets, including cash, checks, stocks or bonds, real estate, life insurance policies and personal property (such as jewelry or artwork). In addition, the foundation accepts assets from individual retirement accounts, including those gifts that would be considered qualified charitable contributions under the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Feel free to contact a member of the Advancement team at 216-861-3810 if you have questions about making such a gift.

Does the foundation work with legal counsel on complex gifts?

We do work with our own legal counsel on complex gifts to ensure that they are properly documented, transferred and valued. We encourage potential donors to partner with us by involving their own counsel in the gift process where complex assets are concerned.

What if my clients want a gift or fund to remain anonymous?

We are sensitive to our donors’ wishes to remain anonymous. At your client’s request, we can establish a fund, accept a gift, or make a grant in an anonymous manner.

Planned Gifts

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What types of planned gifts does the Cleveland Foundation accept?

The foundation offers a variety of planned giving options, including charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and retained life estates. See a comparative chart of these planned gifts. Please feel free to contact a member of the Advancement team at 216-861-3810 if you or your client have questions about such a gift.

What are the minimum amounts for a planned gift?

There is no minimum for a bequest. The minimum to establish a charitable gift annuity is $10,000. The minimum for the foundation to act as a trustee for a charitable remainder trust is $100,000 and for a charitable lead trust $1 million. The minimum for a retained life estate is $150,000.

What if my client wishes to make a bequest to the foundation? Is there standard language that should be used?

We offer Sample Bequest Language that can be used in drafting wills and trusts or contact a member of the Advancement team at 216-861-3810.

Can the foundation assist me in preparing calculations if my client is interested in a split interest gift such as a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust?

Yes, the foundation would be glad to prepare calculations for your clients with detailed information about the taxation and payments of a split interest gift. You can also do simplified calculations on your own using the Planned Giving Design Center’s online calculator at

Can my client specify what he or she wants a planned gift to support once it matures?

Yes, your client can state in a will or trust document what specific charities or general fields of interest he or she wishes the remaining assets of the planned gift to support.

What are the fees involved with planned gifts?

The foundation charges no setup fees for planned gifts. Additionally, there are no administrative fees charged for bequests, insurance gifts, retained life estates, or charitable gift annuities. Charitable remainder trusts are charged an annual administrative fee of $1,000, and charitable lead trusts are charged an annual administrative fee of 25 basis points.