Options for Charitable Giving

The Cleveland Foundation offers a variety of fund options to help your clients meet their philanthropic goals. From donor-advised funds (which allow your clients to engage in active grantmaking) to unrestricted funds (which rely on the foundation’s knowledge of the community for grantmaking decisions), our funds allow your clients to choose their level of participation.

Cleveland Foundation Fund Type Comparison

Area-of-Greatest-need Fund A permanent fund that does not designate a particular charity or area of interest for grantmaking. The donor relies on the Cleveland Foundation’s board of directors to distribute money from the fund to areas where the needs are greatest.

$10,000 for testamentary gifts;

$100,000 for inter vivos gifts

NAMED FIELD­-OF-INTEREST FUND A permanent fund that names a specific area of interest, such as education or the arts, as the recipient of grants from the fund. The donor relies on the Cleveland Foundation to distribute money from the fund to institutions within that area of interest.

$10,000 for testamentary gifts;

$100,000 for inter vivos gifts

NAMED DESIGNATED FUND A permanent fund that names a specific charitable institution as its beneficiary. Designated funds are a great vehicle for supporting students with higher education attainment and honoring alma maters. The donor has indicated the beneficiary in the fund agreement.

$10,000 for testamentary gifts;

$100,000 for inter vivos gifts

DONOR-­ADVISED FUND A fund offering the ability for donors to make suggestions on which charitable causes are supported from the fund each year. Donors are permitted to make grant recommendations. This right may also be extended to children of the donor. $10,000
ORGANIZATIONAL  FUND A fund providing stable, predictable sources of income and future financial security to a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The organization specifies representatives who are permitted to request distributions from the fund in accordance with the provisions of the fund agreement. $100,000
SUPPORTING ORGANIZATION An alternative to a private foundation that has its own board of trustees and grantmaking identities, but enjoys public charity status. The board of directors of the supporting organization makes its own grantmaking decisions. $5,000,000


What Assets Can Be Used?


Cash gifts are an easy way to make an impact in the community and allow donors to give at any time.


Securities, both publicly traded and closely held, can be used to set up a fund.

Real and Personal Property

Gifting real and personal property often allows an individual to contribute more than he or she may have thought possible.

IRA/Retirement Fund Assets

Retirement assets are most often used as testamentary gifts, creating charitable funds as part of an overall estate plan.

Life Insurance

Life insurance makes it possible to make meaningful gifts to the community and to create a fund.

Other Ways to Partner

Partnering with the Foundation on Priority Areas and Community Funds

The foundation has created special funds designed to address the community’s priority areas and urgent and emergent needs. Donors are invited to participate with the Cleveland Foundation on major initiatives, such as improving public education and promoting economic development, as well as via the following community funds:

Community Funds

Lake-Geauga Fund

The Lake-Geauga Fund of the Cleveland Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations in Lake and Geauga counties. Established in 1987, the fund’s grantmaking is directed by an advisory committee of community leaders living in one of those counties.