Why does Cobb County need its own community foundation?

Many individuals and organizations like to focus their giving on their local community. Cobb County is no different. Cobb Community Foundation (CCF) is particularly attuned to the issues facing our county, who is addressing those issues and how. This knowledge allows us to help our fundholders narrow their focuses on the organizations that are making the differences they want to see in their back yards.

 

Do you only give to Cobb County charitable organizations?

Our fundholders can recommend grants to any501(c)(3) organization, and we are happy to help them identify and vet charitable organizations anywhere. Our unique expertise, however, centers around those organizations serving Cobb County.

 

Are all of your fundholders in Cobb County?

Not at all. We have fundholders throughout metro Atlanta and in a few other states, as well. Many of our funds were set up by individuals who live in other areas but whose business is or was based in Cobb. They feel strongly about giving back to the community that helped them be successful.

 

Why would someone who has no ties to Cobb County establish a fund with the Cobb Community Foundation?

In many cases, it’s about the personal relationships that exist between fundholders and staff or other fundholders. In other cases, our fundholders like being a regular fish in a small pond as opposed to a small fish in a big pond. They like the fact that when they call us, we recognize their voice and ask about the kids or the grandkids.

 

I can set up a Donor-Advised Fund (what we call “Giving Fund”) through a brokerage firm for a much lower administrative fee. Why should I use you?

First, be sure you are also looking at all of the fees that will be charged. More importantly, though, we don’t try to compete with commercial charitable fund sponsors. For the individual who is truly looking to “do it yourself” and neither needs nor wants any guidance on giving options, engaging children in the giving process or a name with a face to help them, the commercial charitable fund sponsor can be a great fit. Our fundholders, however, realize that the administrative fee paid from their fund is what allows Cobb Community Foundation make the impact that it does. They simply see it as another way to give back to the community.

 

Who manages the investments in your funds?

Our Investment Committee has engaged Wela, formerly Wela Strategies, to manage our fund holdings. Wela was built out of and born from a $1 billion wealth management firm also based in Atlanta. Leveraging the intellectual capital of a mature investment firm with established investment principles, philosophies and processes, Wela was able to offer low-cost prudent management through an experienced investment team.

 

How are your funds invested?

We use exchange-traded funds, more commonly known as “ETFs”. Like an index fund, an ETF is a marketable security that tracks the yield and return of an index, a particular market or sector. The goal of an ETF is to provide investors with a benchmark return at minimal cost. ETFs trade like stocks and typically have lower fees than mutual fund shares, making them a very attractive vehicle.

 

Are all funds invested the same way?

No. Each of our fundholders can choose from four different investment models, each with its own investment objective and risk/return profile. Here is a description of each model.

 

I have used the same investment manager for years and really want that person to manage the fund’s investments. Can they do that with the Cobb Community Foundation?

Absolutely. Fundholders whose funds exceed $250,000 in value have the option of selecting their own money manager. We work with him or her to put things in place. The only difference our fundholder typically sees is that they receive a statement for the fund both from the money manager or custodian in addition to ours.

 

Why would I not just create a private foundation?

One of the country’s foremost legal experts in the charitable planning arena recently said to a group of attorneys, CPAs and financial advisors, “Private foundations are a pain in the neck.” They are generally expensive to establish and maintain and have a number of requirements that Donor-Advised Funds – or Giving Funds – do not. This chart provides the details.