What is a Community Foundation?

The Moline Community Foundation serving the community of Moline and the surrounding area known as the Quad Cities, is one of approximately 800 community foundations across the country and around the world. They are set up by people, corporations and families that are dedicated to improving the quality of life in a specific region.

It is a tax-exempt public charity that allows people to establish permanent endowment funds within one large foundation, and offers an inexpensive, value-added way to establish a named family foundation. The income from these separate funds - and the principal if the donor desires - is available to respond to emerging problems and opportunities in our community.


What does a Community Foundation do?

The Moline Foundation was established in 1953 to encourage philanthropy and create opportunities to improve the quality of life for present and future generations in Moline, Rock Island County, and the Quad Cities area. In 2003, the counties of Warren, Henderson and McDonough in western Illinois were added to our service area.  Our primary work is to make grants to community groups in the areas of arts and culture, community development, education, scholarship, health care, and human services. We've given more than $28 million since we made our first grants in 1954 to qualified nonprofit organizations serving the citizens of Moline and the surrounding area. The Moline Foundation also provides support to community groups with the ability to establish endowment funds . Finally, The Moline Foundation provides philanthropic leadership in the community by convening leaders to solve problems and develop projects that benefit the entire area or address a specific issue of concern.


What "community" does it cover? Who do you serve?

The Moline Foundation generally serves the citizens of Moline and the surrounding area. This includes citizens in both Iowa and Illinois as a part of the Quad Cities region and Scott County in Iowa and Mercer, Rock Island, Henry, Warren, Henderson and McDonough Counties in Illinois.  Past and future donors, however, may have specific interests elsewhere which they fund through The Moline Foundation.


Where do you get the money you donate?

Donors to community foundations like The Moline Foundation range from people of relatively modest means to those with large financial resources. By establishing a fund or donating to an existing fund within a community foundation, donors can contribute their gifts of cash and appreciated property toward a permanent named endowment or an advised gift fund, in which the principal of the fund is available for grants. Many donors are interested in planned giving and have designated The Moline Foundation in their charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts or bequests.


Why be a donor?

The Moline Foundation donors are people with a strong sense of community and personal commitment to making a contribution to the communities in which they live. Some donors want to support worthwhile causes in their communities, and The Moline Foundation, finds the best way to commit their funds with their advice, a strong 60-year history of giving and familiarity with the community.  Other donors appreciate the speed, flexibility, and ease of using The Moline Foundation. Because the legal requirements are already in place, existing forms are available so that a fund can literally be established, including obtaining all applicable tax advantages, in a very short time. In most cases, all tax accounting is accomplished through the general reporting of The Moline Foundation annually.


Who Governs The Moline Foundation

A governing Board of Directors, all of whom are volunteers, is comprised of individuals who are representative of Moline and the surrounding area. The current Board includes: Larry Meeske - Chairman;  Jeff Nelson - Vice Chairman;  Craig Mack - Secretary; Jonathon Fox - Treasurer;  and Members of the Board: Debi Becht, Alfred Ramirez,  Amy Nimmer, Natalie Linville-Mass, Dr. Reginald Lawrence II, Scott Lohman and Steven Kruse.


What do you fund?

Since 1953, The Moline Foundation has granted more than $28 million dollars to nonprofit organizations working in health care, human services, education, community development, arts and culture, and scholarship. Over 300 agencies have received grants in the past. The top eleven groups to receive funds in the past 60 years include: Western Illinois University, Moline Public Library, Quad City Civic Center Authority (the iWireless Center), Moline Public Schools, Lutheran Hospital (now Trinity Medical Center), YMCA (Two Rivers Y), Salvation Army, Renew Moline, Bethany Home, Moline Public Hospital (Trinity), Quad City Music Guild, and Christian Friendliness. A complete grants list is available from The Moline Foundation office.


How is this different from the United Way?

Both are important resources to the community and each complements the other. The Moline Foundation's scope of funding is broader than the United Way's focus on health and human services. Broader community problem-solving initiatives are also undertaken by The Moline Foundation such as the Engineers for Tomorrow program (education/ community development), funding of capital development projects (i.e. Two Rivers Y, the The Taxslayer Center, Putnam Museum, IMAX, and others) and Scholarship Funds.


How is this different from the United Way?

Both are important resources to the community and each complements the other. The Moline Foundation's scope of funding is broader than the United Way's focus on health and human services. Broader community problem-solving initiatives are also undertaken by The Moline Foundation such as the Engineers for Tomorrow program (education/ community development), funding of capital development projects (i.e. Two Rivers Y, the TaxSlayer Center, Putnam Museum, IMAX, and others) and Scholarship Funds.


What are the financial benefits and tax advantages of gifting through The Moline Foundation?

The Moline Foundation approach to planned giving offers a number of important financial benefits to donors. Because community foundations manage a large number of unrestricted and discretionary funds, administrative costs and service fees for any one fund are minimized - meaning less overhead cost to the donor's fund. Another important advantage is that the Federal tax code provides significant incentives for contributions to a community foundation.

The Moline Foundation also has a number of different types of funds to accommodate donors who prefer the long-term strategy of endowments as well as those who want to give more actively each year. Donors can choose to establish one of these funds, which allow donors to recommend grants, or can choose to contribute to an existing fund that is flexible to respond to emerging needs in the community.


I always thought foundations were for rich people. I am not rich. Why should I think about giving a small amount through The Moline Foundation?

Community foundations offer a variety of options for making donations. By combining your resources with those of others who share your interests, you can maximize the impact of modest contributions with minimal administrative costs.

We also offer an option for donors to contribute over time to build a fund, called an Acorn Fund.


How do I set up a fund?

The first step is to decide between a Donor Advised Endowment Fund and a Donor Advised Gift Fund.

The Donor Advised Endowment Fund is invested using a long-term strategy. Working with foundation staff, donors make recommendations for grant distributions from the interest earnings. It is the right option for those who are striving for a permanent legacy and a permanent way to contribute to the community.

A Donor Advised Gift Fund comes with all the same staff and administrative services as an endowment fund, but is set up so that grants may be recommended from principal and then rebuilt. This option appeals to donors who would like to make more active grants on an annual basis.

Sample forms are available by contacting The Moline Foundation.

We encourage prospective donors to review them with their own professional financial or legal advisors. When a fund is established, the donor must specify the amount that will be endowed and the amount to be kept available for short-term distributions, such as from a gift fund. The donor may wish to establish the fund to help meet a variety of needs within the community or may specify a purpose or area of concern for which income from the fund is best used. Donors can also name the fund that they endow for themselves, spouses, a family member, a company, or a valued friend. Funds may also be anonymous.

Gifts also may be contributed to an existing event or project, or a general or specific purpose fund.


How can I give to The Moline Foundation?

Some people prefer the simplicity of cash. There are, however, many other ways to give, including securities and real estate. Gifts to The Moline Foundation may be made at a surprisingly low cost by giving real estate or securities that have appreciated in value. Were the donor to sell the property, a substantial tax would be levied on appreciation, whereas a gift to The Moline Foundation not only incurs no tax, but entitles the donor to a tax deduction for the full value.

Gifts to The Moline Foundation may be made subject to life income agreements. Such an irrevocable gift may provide for an annual income paid to the donor for the remainder of his/her life. Through this sort of gift, depending on the individual circumstances, substantial income and inheritance tax benefits are created. A variety of instruments could be used including a Charitable Remainder Trust, a Charitable Lead Trust, or an Annuity Trust.


Explain the difference from a private, family foundation. Does this have importance for my taxes?

Often, people establish a private family foundation because they don't know that in many cases, working through a community foundation offers an easier alternative. In addition to the tax benefits listed below, setting up a fund through The Moline Foundation has an extremely short turn-around time. It may take less than a day. Some local advisors estimate it may cost a minimum of $5,000 to establish a private family foundation. Additionally, the staff of the foundation becomes available to help with grants (including facilitating work with families), screen applications and take care of auditing and financial reporting requirements. Many community foundation donors are also pleased by the fact that community foundations have none of the annual payout requirements of a family foundation, so donors may leave their funds dormant when they lack the time to focus on it in any given year.

Community foundations combine the tax advantages of a public charity with the lasting quality of a private foundation. Gifts of cash and ordinary income property to a community foundation are deductible up to 50% of adjusted gross income versus 30% for a private foundation. Gifts of appreciated property can be credited for 30% versus 20% for a private foundation. There is no excise tax on community foundations as there is on private foundations, and community foundations do not have the payout requirements of private foundations. More information on family foundations vs. community foundations is available by contacting The Moline Foundation offices at (309)736-3800.


How are The Moline Foundation funds invested and managed?

An investment committee of respected individuals from our community serve without pay to wisely guide the Board of Directors with policy review and suggestions for investment guidelines. The Moline Foundation uses a diversified investment portfolio which is available for review by contacting The Moline Foundation offices.


What services do I receive as a donor and is there a fee for this?

The Moline Foundation provides all IRS reporting, accounting and accountability. Extensive grant review and site visit work is done by The Moline Foundation staff, and agency recommendations and evaluations are always available to donors. The Moline Foundation assures that all grant and scholarship recipients meet the tests to assure tax-deductible status. When appropriate, The Moline Foundation can help donors solicit proposals to fund certain categories of interest to the donor. Donors are kept apprised of special community needs on a regular basis. We can also help donors publicize their funds or, conversely, act as a community liaison to provide anonymity for donors.

The donor is charged an annual fee, which covers all money management and administrative services. The fee is deducted from interest earnings on the fund.


How much must I contribute to have a fund named?

Named funds require at least a $5,000 endowment gift. Nonprofit agencies and organizations may begin with a smaller gift, with the intent that they will grow the endowment fund with other contributions.

There is also an option called the Acorn Fund that allows donors to contribute to a general community assistance fund with a memorial/tribute or anonymous gift.


Can I give anonymously?

Yes. Anonymous gifts are welcome through The Moline Foundation.


How will funds be invested? Can a donor influence or tell you how and with whom to invest his/her funds?

Investment strategies are recommended by the Investment Committee, and decisions are made by the Board. Short term funds are invested locally for maximum returns and minimum fluctuation potential. Longer term funds are invested to emphasize growth and outpace inflation.


How do I contact you?

Please send us an e-mail to pplagenz@molinefoundation.org 

or call

The Moline Foundation



We are located in the Riverstation Building downtown Moline

Second Floor

1601 River Drive, | Suite 210 Moline, Illinois  61265

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The Moline Foundation

1601 River Drive | Suite 210 

Moline, Illinois | 61265