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Start a Fund

A journey of 1000 miles starts with 1 step

We achieve economies of scale by pooling your agency’s endowment with other funds, which can reduce investment management fees.  We provide investment oversight, saving your staff and Board time and enabling you to focus on growing your program.


Once established, the Fund’s income can be directed each year to your organization’s operating budget, giving you additional revenue to support your good work.  When we establish an endowment Fund for a nonprofit, we book an asset and a liability, which means your agency can remove some or all of the assets in the Fund at any time.

Five steps to starting an endowment fund

  1. Talk to our staff. We’re happy to discuss the pros and cons of creating an endowment Fund with your executive director or chief financial officer before you involve your Board in the process.

  2. Engage your Board. If you decide to move forward, you’ll probably talk first to the Board Committee that handles your finances. We’re happy to work with you to prepare an objective case comparing the advantages and drawbacks of your current program versus an endowment Fund with Napa Valley Community Foundation.

  3. Complete the paperwork. Our fund agreement is all you need to get started. Most people have questions about variance power and the irrevocability of gifts made to the Community Foundation. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

  4. Tell us about your goals. We’re here to help your organization achieve its mission in the long run. If you want to market this new endowment Fund to your current or prospective donors, or to others in the community, we can provide assistance. We often help nonprofits structure their donors’ major and planned gifts to build their endowment Funds.

  5. Let us handle the administrative details. Once your Fund is established, we handle all investment management and investment oversight activities. It is our job to hire and fire investment advisors, conduct quarterly reviews of their performance against benchmarks (via our Investment Committee), and consider changes where performance is lagging.

Fund Options


The Community Foundation of Des Moines County creates opportunities for donors to realize their charitable giving goals and make a difference in their community. We offer a variety of fund options to meet the wishes of our donors.


Donor-Advised Fund

Donor-Advised Funds permit you to remain actively involved by allowing you to make grant recommendations to causes you care about whenever it is convenient.  Donor-Advised Funds can be fully distributed during your lifetime, or can be endowed to create a permanent legacy that will benefit the community forever.  Once you submit your funding recommendations, your request will be processed promptly and the Community Foundation will distribute grants in the name of your fund.  Our program staff provides regular updates to donor-advisors regarding community needs and opportunities.


Designated Fund

A Designated Fund is established by a donor to provide ongoing support for a specific nonprofit organization or purpose. The nonprofit organization you choose will receive annual gifts from your fund, creating a stable income stream. You may choose one or more organizations to support through a Designated Fund.


Agency Fund

An Agency Fund is established by a local nonprofit organization to provide support for the organization. Partnering with the Community Foundation of Des Moines County allows nonprofits to invest in a larger pool of assets, which can lead to greater growth, greater income and lower investment fees. All gifts to the organization’s endowed fund are tax deductible and may benefit from the 25 percent state income tax credit through the Endow Iowa Tax Credit Program. Distributions from the fund are granted back to the agency to be used at the discretion of its governing board. Nonprofits can create their Agency Fund as an endowed, non-endowed or quasi-endowed fund.


Field of Interest Fund

Field of Interest Funds allow donors to select particular charitable causes to support, such as the environment, education, arts and culture, human services, health or community development. You may establish your own fund or contribute to an existing fund. The Community Foundation of Des Moines County will award grants to community organizations and programs that are making a difference in the areas you select. While you determine the direction of your Field of Interest Fund, the details are left to the Community Foundation. Our professional staff continually monitors changing community needs and opportunities to ensure grants make the most impact in your field of interest.


Community Endowment Fund

Our community needs and opportunities are ever changing. Contributions to the Community Endowment Fund allow the Community Foundation to use your charitable contribution strategically in response to the most pressing community issues and opportunities. The Community Endowment Fund is an endowed fund that supports competitive grant programs at the Community Foundation of Des Moines County. You may establish your own fund or contribute the existing Community  Endowment Fund.


Memorial or In Honor Of

Any fund listed above can be established in memory or in honor of a loved one, or to commemorate a special milestone or event.

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