Every day you make choices about how you use your money. We want to help you think about the choices you make related to your charitable giving and take your giving to the next level — to make your philanthropy as personal, meaningful and fulfilling as possible.
Giving to the Community Foundation is easy and doesn’t require great wealth. No matter how much you give, your philanthropic strategy will be meaningful when it is aligned with your values, life experiences, interests and desire to make Elkhart County a community where every person can reach full potential.

Ways to Give

There are many options to choose from when giving to the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. Whichever option you choose, your gift will help to improve the quality of life in Elkhart County by inspiring generosity – Inspiring Good. Impacting Success.

Give Now

You can start supporting our community now with an outright gift of:


A cash gift is the simplest way to establish a fund or give to an existing fund. Cash gifts are fully deductible up to 50% of the donor’s adjusted gross income in any one year. Deduction amounts exceeding this limit may be carried forward for up to five additional years.  Checks can be made payable to Community Foundation of Elkhart County or gifts can be made online.


Gifts of appreciated securities (stock, bonds and most mutual funds) also provide tax advantages. If you have held the securities for one year or longer, the current value generally is tax-deductible up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income, with a five-year carryover if the gift amount is more than the 30 percent limit.


We can accept a gift of a house or other personal residence, farm, commercial building and income producing or non-income producing land. A gift of real estate you have owned for more than a year entitles you to a tax deduction for the fair market value of the property, and you avoid paying capital gains taxes.


When you name the Community Foundation as the owner and beneficiary of an existing or new life insurance policy, you receive an immediate tax deduction that usually approximates the cash surrender value of the policy. All premium payments made thereafter are deductible as a charitable contribution.

Give Later

Many of the gifts we receive come in the form of end-of-life bequests, small and large, from caring donors like you, who wish to create a legacy in their community. In creating an end-of-life gift, you have chosen to support your community and the causes you care deeply about long after your lifetime.

Your community foundation strives to make our community a better place in which to live and we take seriously our commitment to you the good stewardship of these gifts, forever. We invite you to join the many others, like you, who care so deeply about our community.

Ways to Join

Becoming a member of the Legacy Society is easy. Make a planned or deferred gift in any amount to the Foundation. There are many possible methods for making a gift, either during your lifetime or through your estate. The Foundation will create a fund, grow it through investment, and ensure your charitable intent is honored forever. Your generosity will have lasting effectiveness and will be multiplied many times over.

Many gifts work well as charitable vehicles in your estate plan, each offering unique advantages and tax benefits, and many do not reduce current income.
Options include:


A charitable bequest to the Community Foundation enables you to retain control over your assets during your lifetime and support the community you love later. A charitable bequest can be a specific dollar amount, a percentage of your estate, or what remains after other bequests are made.


Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) or other qualified retirement plans are often one of the best types of assets to leave to charity because they are taxed so heavily when left to heirs. When you leave retirement plan assets to a nonprofit––such as the Community Foundation––100 percent of the gift will be available to support your charitable interests.


Charitable Gift Annuity

When you establish a Charitable Gift Annuity you can receive guaranteed income for life, benefit from an immediate income tax deduction, and leave a legacy that will support the causes that are important to you forever. Payments are based on your age: the older you are the greater the annuity payment. If you choose, you can receive an income tax deduction now and defer receiving the annuity payments until a future date of your choosing. After receiving annuity payments for life, the remainder interest may be used to establish a named charitable fund, or be added to an existing fund. The tax advantages of both a current and deferred annuity are two-fold. First, you receive an immediate charitable income tax deduction when you create your annuity. Second, a portion of the payments you receive may be treated either as tax-free return of principal or long-term capital gains. These tax advantages increase the effective value of the annuity payments.

Charitable Remainder Trust

A charitable remainder trust offers you a great deal of flexibility. Payments may be made to you or another beneficiary for life, or a specified number of years. The income beneficiaries annually receive an amount equal to a fixed percentage of the trust’s fair market value, or a fixed dollar amount. A charitable remainder trust may be set up during your lifetime or through your will. The eventual distribution to the Community Foundation will only take effect upon the death of the trust’s income beneficiaries, or at the end of the specified number of years. At this time, the remainder of the trust transfers to the Community Foundation to support your charitable giving goals.


A Charitable Lead Trust enables you to make significant charitable gifts now while transferring substantial assets to beneficiaries later. A trust is set up from which the Community Foundation receives annual payments for your life or for a specific number of years. These funds may be used to support nonprofits you choose or be added to an Advised Fund. When the trust terminates, the principal is returned to you or distributed to others you designate. The trust assets pass to the recipients at reduced tax cost—sometimes even tax-free.


You can turn your property’s value into community good by making a gift of real estate to the Community Foundation. You can continue to live in and fully enjoy your home (or vacation property) as long as you like while giving the future ownership of it to the Community Foundation. This is called a Retained Life Estate. The gift of the “remainder interest” is a charitable contribution in the year the gift arrangement is made, which may result in a substantial income tax charitable deduction. When the life tenancy terminates, the Community Foundation becomes the owner of the property. The proceeds of the property’s sale may be used to establish a fund at the Community Foundation, or add to an existing fund.

How to Set Up a Fund

The Community Foundation offers many types of funds; in most cases, the minimum opening gift for most of them is $10,000.
Opening one is surprisingly quick and easy, and can be done in five simple steps:

  • 1-iconContact the Foundation at 574.295.8761
  • 1-iconWe’ll work with you to develop a giving plan that meets your charitable and financial goals
  • 1-iconYou’ll make your initial gift to your fund, or work with your advisor to create a planned gift
  • 1-iconThe Foundation will complete your agreement, returning a copy to you along with a gift acknowledgement letter for your tax records
  • 1-iconYou’ll be contacted by a Community Foundation philanthropic advisor, who will provide guidance as you use your fund to make an impact on the world



This is a simple, powerful, personal approach to giving. After establishing your fund, you can manage your fund online through our password-protected DonorFirst portal. Our professional staff can help you identify short- and long-term goals, targeting the issues you care about most. Grants are issued to nonprofits in the name of the fund (or anonymously). Consider establishing a donor advised fund rather than a private foundation.


Unrestricted funds allow us to respond quickly to our community’s needs and to address issues as they emerge. If you do not have a particular charitable field of interest and do not want to be involved in the details of grantmaking, donating to our unrestricted fund is a perfect choice.


If you have a particular charitable passion, but do not want to be involved in the details of grantmaking, consider donating to a field-of-interest fund. We manage field-of-interest funds in several areas—arts, environment, healthcare and mental health, human services, basic needs, and at-risk women and girls—and call for grant proposals from nonprofit agencies to guide our funding in these areas.


Designated funds are a way you can provide a steady, long-term source of income to nonprofit agencies that you care about. Because your gift is given through the Community Foundation, it provides the agencies with funding, as well as planned giving and investment management services.

In addition, many nonprofits partner with us to manage a permanent endowment for their organizations. Pooled with other funds like it for greater investment returns, the endowment acts like a savings account to meet an organization’s needs now and in the future. Nonprofits or individual donors who want to secure the future of their favorite organization may explore this option.


Participate in the Foundation Matching Gift Program by giving to an agency endowment and the fund will receive a 25% match!  All aggregate donor gifts received on behalf of an existing agency fund or a start up agency fund totaling $100,000 before December 31st will benefit from the maximum 25% match of $25,000 that ECCF will gift to the designated fund’s corpus.


When companies, organizations, families or individuals establish a scholarship fund with us, they give deserving students the opportunity to pursue academic dreams. Establish a legacy, honor a loved one or give back to your community or your alma mater. We will work with you to create, establish criteria for, and administer your fund.


Giving circles enable participants to make collective funding decisions and become more involved in the giving process than by simply writing a check to a favorite charity, all while having fun doing it. By donating time and/or money through their giving circle of choice, participants have a more meaningful giving experience.

Why the Community Foundation?

Because we will help you invest wisely in the causes you care most about. Giving is a deeply personal act. We treat it that way, making sure that your giving experience is tailored specifically for you.

We simplify

Opening a fund with us is easier and more efficient than opening a private foundation. You don’t have to write multiple checks to various charities, and we handle all of the tedious administrative details.

It costs
nothing to
get started

In contrast with a stand-alone foundation, which comes with significant legal, accounting, and operational fees, opening a fund at the Community Foundation is free.

We offer invaluable expertise

Our team possesses an unparalleled base of knowledge and connections built through community involvement and leadership. We apply this knowledge to ensure your gift is used as you intend, and that the needs and community you care about are supported.

We are established and trusted

We have been helping people improve the quality of life where they live and support the community needs that matter most to them since 1989 and we will continue to do so forever.

We know the local nonprofit landscape

We support Elkhart County nonprofits addressing immediate community needs, as well as those collaborating with others to create long-term, transformative change. Whether you have a crystal clear concept or only an idea that is just beginning to take shape, we can help.

Give to an Existing Fund

Consider giving a gift to one or more of the funds established by individuals, families, businesses and organizations that want to help our community thrive.

If giving to one of these funds is the right option for you, but you don’t know which fund to choose, we can use our knowledge and expertise to help you identify one that matches your interests. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Donor Engagement team by email or by calling us today at 574-295-8761.

Make a donation now using your credit card with our secure online form.


Community Foundation of Elkhart County
P.O. Box 2932
Elkhart, Indiana 46516

Contact Us

Pete McCown


Jodi Spataro

Chief Advancement Officer

Carrie Berghoff

Donor Engagement Specialist