What is the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee?

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee unites compassionate individuals and worthy causes while aiming to build a more thriving and inclusive community by transforming thoughtful generosity into positive change. Its generous donors span the community and are driven by a shared commitment to addressing diverse needs.

For more than 30 years, CFMT has served as a leader, catalyst, and resource for philanthropy in Middle Tennessee and beyond, leveraging our expertise and unique capabilities as a public foundation to identify and address critical needs.

How does CFMT function?

CFMT receives contributions of all sizes from every corner of our community, and then through wise investment and efficient management, reinvests those contributions in the form of grants to nonprofit organizations working to benefit the community. By providing low-cost administrative services to a variety of donors throughout Middle Tennessee, CFMT is building a permanent collection of endowed funds while supporting the charitable objectives of the donor.

Do you have to be wealthy to participate?

No. This is a foundation of the people and for the people. It is named “community” for a reason. We have gratefully received donations ranging from 10 dollars to millions of dollars. We stand ready to help anyone willing to give something back to enrich this community.

What are the advantages of using the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee rather than a private foundation?

Our version of a private foundation for an individual, family or corporation is called a Donor-Advised Fund. It:

• Is easier and less expensive to establish (no set up costs and a minimum contribution of $5,000)
• Is easier and less expensive to maintain (the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee gets paid an annual fee of only 1.25%* which both covers our expenses and allows us to respond to grant requests)
• Provides a greater annual tax deduction, in many cases
• Provides easy access to information about nonprofits seeking support
• Enables you to make gifts of stock options, closely held securities, insurance policies, real estate, etc. with ease and without most IRS limitations
• Lowers the administrative cost thereby increasing grantmaking capacity
• Permits you to time gifts without an IRS-mandated payout schedule
• Allows the avoidance of the 1-2% excise tax on investment income
• Creates the opportunity to make gifts anonymously
• Enables you to establish a legacy of caring in perpetuity – which will be overseen by committed leaders dedicated to preserving donor intent

* In most cases there is also an investment management fee which varies.

Why should I give through Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee instead of directly to the charity/charities of my choice?

Your charitable priorities may shift. Certain problems disappear over time and sometimes agencies “go out of business.” Through the Community Foundation, you can have the flexibility to address a variety of charitable priorities, whether you support many different causes or your interests change over time. A permanent fund in the Community Foundation is also a safeguard designed to carry out your charitable objectives in perpetuity – dedicated to making sure the spirit of your gift remains intact through changing time and circumstance.

I am interested in establishing a fund but some of my interests lie out-of-town. Can I recommend agencies/organizations beyond Middle Tennessee?

Yes. While we hope most of the grants the Community Foundation makes will go to support community endeavors, we recognize that some of what has made our area so healthy has come from outside its borders. We have several funds which are designated to provide endowments for organizations around the country. They are here because their benefactors are here or do business here.

We have several donors, in fact, who have established funds within the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, but who live in Georgia, California, New York, or elsewhere. And, we have Donor Advisors who request that gifts from their funds go to benefit favorite organizations across the country. The Foundation’s Board maintains that national organizations, colleges and universities, and nonprofits doing good work in other areas have all made this a better place to live. And, we ourselves have gratefully accepted grants recommended by donors from Donor-Advised Funds in other places.

Can the Community Foundation help me reduce my estate taxes?

YES. Although it may sound too good to be true, time and time again, we have seen cases in which people actually increase what they can leave to their heirs through a gift to charity.

It often comes as a shock to us that taxes can take more than 50% of our estates before they reach our heirs. If you have an IRA, 401(k) or Keogh, that estate tax is compounded by income taxation, as well.

But there are opportunities to leave a sizable portion of your estate to benefit your heirs and support charitable causes. To learn more about the options we can facilitate for you, or for your clients making estate plans, call us at 615-321-4939.

How much does it cost to establish a charitable fund?

$5,000 to establish almost all types of charitable funds
$25,000 to establish a scholarship fund

Can I establish an anonymous fund?

Yes, all gifts and grants can remain anonymous.

Where can I find nonprofit organizations in Middle Tennessee, learn about their mission, and donate directly?

Visit www.GivingMatters.com, an online initiative of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, to find, learn and give to more than 1,600 local nonprofits.

Where can I find centralized information about child care in the Nashville region?

Visit ChildcareNashville.com, an online initiative of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. ChildcareNashville.com serves all participants of the childcare community: families, job-seekers and childcare providers. Connecting the need for quality childcare with the knowledge of open enrollment availability, ChildcareNashville.com serves to save time and money for both families and providers. In addition, an active job board keeps quality staff in the classroom.