elevate your giving
open a fund at eccf
Giving is most powerful when it is personal. Opening a fund at ECCF allows you to support your unique goals and interests. In just a few simple steps, we can make it easy to support what you love.
choose a fund type
donor advised fund
A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) organizes all your charitable giving through one cost-effective and efficient vehicle. You can make tax-deductible contributions any time and choose to invest your funds with the potential for tax-free growth. Once ready, you can choose which qualified 501(c)(3) organizations in the U.S. to support, how much to give and when.
field of interest fund
A Field of Interest fund allows you to support the causes or communities you care about most. This fund will ensure grants are made to support a specific area of interest now and into the future. This fund allows you to fundraise and to host events in support of the cause.
A Scholarship Fund is an investment in your community’s future as it helps students achieve their lifetime dreams. Your fund could support students from your community, students who are entering certain fields, or be open to any qualified applicant.
A Designated Fund provides support to the specific nonprofit(s) you choose. If you have a strong tie to a particular organization this fund can be established for its specific benefit, now and into the future.
A 501c3 charitable organization can establish a Nonprofit Agency Fund to create a lasting source of capital in support of their mission, as well as for specific purposes like a capital campaign. Nonprofits can take advantage of ECCF’s investment services and the administrative ease of having ECCF manage and distribute funds.
choose what to give
You can use any of the following assets to establish a charitable fund. ECCF encourages donors to seek the advice of a financial advisor when considering the best assets to contribute to a fund.
Cash contributions to your fund can be made anytime by check, online or via wire transfer.
A contribution of stock can be a highly tax-effective way to fund your charitable goals.
ECCF now accepts cryptocurrency donations. Learn more.
real estate & personal property
Whether it is undeveloped land, a home, or a commercial property, real estate assets can become meaningful charitable contributions through ECCF. Gifts of real estate are considered on an individual basis and must be approved by ECCF Trustees. You can also give personal property – art, jewelry, and collections. Ask us about how one donor turned gold coins into significant community impact!
transfer an existing donor advised fund
It is easy to establish a fund at ECCF by making a grant from your charitable fund at a commercial institution. Many donors utilize a fund at ECCF to activate their local giving, to connect more deeply to nonprofits and leaders in their community, and to access support for things like involving family in philanthropy and planning for a legacy.
qualified charitable distribution from IRA
A qualified charitable distribution (QCD) allows individuals who are 70 ½ years old or older to donate up to $100,000 directly from a taxable IRA, instead of taking their required minimum distributions. Your QCD can establish a charitable fund at ECCF, except for a Donor Advised Fund.
convert a private foundation
Convert your private foundation to a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) so you can focus on your giving while we handle the administration. Compare a DAF to Private Foundation
Including ECCF in your estate plan is a smart way for you to make a significant long-lasting impact on your community. Learn more.
choose how your fund is invested
Choose an Investment Option that works best to achieve your unique goals.
Designed to maximize long-term returns at a low cost, this investment option is chosen by the majority of fundholders.
Designed for those who prefer their investments screened for environmental, social, and governance criteria while producing solid returns now and into the future.
Designed for funds that are generally short term in nature and are focused on the investment of capital with minimal risk.
financial advisor program
Donors establishing funds of $100,000 or more may recommend their preferred investment advisor to manage the investment of the charitable fund assets.
Short videos to help walk you through partnering with ECCF.
“ ECCF makes donating so easy and so much more manageable, especially
in today’s busy world. I absolutely give more because of ECCF, and that’s
– ELIZABETH SHORTS HARRIGAN, FUNDHOLDER
donors & giving
Vice President for Advancement and Philanthropic Services
(978) 777-8876 x122
Director of Gift Planning and Advisor Relations
(978) 777-8876 x135
giving forms & documents
eccf fund faqs
How do I know what type of fund is right for my giving goals?
Every donor is different, and every fund type offers benefits and restrictions. We invite you to review our fund descriptions to familiarize yourself with your options and reach out to our team when you are ready. We will listen and learn about your financial and charitable goals and guide you towards choosing the right fund for you.
Why open an ECCF fund when I can donate to a nonprofit directly?
A fund at ECCF is one tool with which you can achieve your philanthropic goals. In some cases, giving directly to a nonprofit organization is precisely the right thing to do and we encourage it!
Creating a fund allows you to donate a variety of assets and receive an immediate tax benefit, invest charitable assets for potential growth, and recommend grants when the timing is right. With a fund at ECCF, you can centralize and simplify your giving with administrative support, strategize with us to ensure you’re achieving maximum charitable impact, sharpen your skills as a savvy donor, and connect with a community of local givers and leaders.
If I want to close my fund in the future, can I request my funds back?
Any gift that you make to create or replenish a fund is considered an irrevocable gift to ECCF. You receive a tax benefit that is commensurate to the asset you give. In return, ECCF owns the assets and acts as a fiduciary entrusted with ensuring the appropriate use of these charitable dollars.
In the unlikely case that you do want to close a fund, ECCF staff will work with you to create a plan that is legally and ethically appropriate.
How long does it take to set up a fund?
It can take as little as two hours to set up a fund. Generally, a donor meets with an ECCF staff member to decide how they would like the fund to work. Next, to establish the fund, the donor completes a straightforward Fund Agreement and transfers assets. ECCF’s internal fund-opening process can take 2-5 days depending on volume and we’ll keep you updated on the progress along the way.
Can I set up a fund in memory of a deceased loved one?
In the case of a fund created in memory of a recently deceased loved one, where it is urgent that the fund is established to notify people through the newspaper or funeral home, the donor needs only to name the fund and sign and fax an agreement form. The details of the fund can be decided when the family is ready. All gifts will be eligible for tax benefits.
Do I need to set up a 501(c)3?
No. ECCF is a nonprofit organization and your fund will fall under our tax-exempt status, allowing ECCF to provide tax acknowledgments for donations made to ECCF on behalf of your fund.
How much do I need to open a fund?
Most fund types require a minimum balance of $10,000 within 12 months of a fund opening. A Nonprofit Agency Fund requires a minimum balance of $25,000.
What fees are charged to manage my fund?
There are two types of fees associated with a fund at ECCF and are based on fund type and the investment option you choose. Read more about our Foundation Fees.
What does ECCF do with fees charged to my fund?
To ensure we can continue to serve and support Essex County long into the future, ECCF is committed to financial sustainability. Each fund at ECCF is charged a competitive fee which ensures you have access to a dedicated team offering best-in-class donor services and support. Also, consider fees as a reinvestment into your community as it directly supports ECCF’s Community Leadership work. This assessment of fees and how they are utilized is especially important when comparing a fund at ECCF with one held at a commercial institution, where fees are returned as revenue to the sponsoring organization. We welcome your questions related to fees and how they are assessed for your fund at any time.
Can I involve my family in giving through my fund?
Engaging family members in giving – especially younger generations – is a leading motivation for why donors establish a fund at ECCF. Philanthropy is a meaningful way to emphasize and impart family values. Utilizing a fund at ECCF to do so makes it simple and enjoyable. ECCF offers education and individualized support to help you create a plan that is right for your family, one that will create joy and impact in the community.
Can other donors add to my fund?
Yes. Donors can give a variety of assets to your fund (with the exception of Nonprofit Agency Funds) and when they do, will receive an appropriate tax benefit. Your Fund may be listed as a donation option on ECCF’s website for online giving. You may also donate proceeds from a fundraising event (after expenses) directly into your fund. Many donors ask for friends and family to give to their fund to celebrate milestone birthdays and retirements!
Can my fund continue providing grants to my favorite charities once I am gone?
Yes. We will help you establish a fund that will continue to support your favorite causes in perpetuity.
Can I recommend grants to nonprofit organizations outside of Essex County?
Yes! We know many ECCF fundholders support causes beyond Essex County’s borders. You can recommend a grant to any nonprofit based in the U.S. that is in good standing with the appropriate Secretary of State. In some cases, ECCF can support international charities and considers each recommendation on a case-by-case basis.
What kinds of entities can I recommend a grant to?
You may recommend a grant to any U.S. based nonprofit organization with a 501c(3) tax status that is in good standing with the appropriate Secretary of State. In certain cases, public schools and municipalities are also eligible to receive a grant. Grants may not be given to individuals unless they are awarded through a scholarship fund, which has a specific structure to make it allowable.
how can we help?
We would love to hear from you.