The Fundamentals of starting a Fund

We’ll admit, the whole “planned giving, starting a fund, leaving a legacy” thing can feel a bit tricky. After all, you’re making significant financial and community impact decisions – not to mention, you want to create a legacy that keeps your vision of community impact alive. It’s a lot. And we understand.

In our second article in the Estate Planning series, we suggested that you didn’t have to be a financial wizard to strategically plan your giving. However, seeking advice and assistance is always something we recommend, and whether you work with a Financial Advisor or not, we’re always here to help.

And while we may be biased, we think one of the best ways to plan your giving and your legacy is to establish a Charitable Fund at The Foundation. When you start a Fund, you are immediately inducted into a community of local philanthropists. You are invited to our AGM, and you get to help us make critical decisions about how the Oakville Community Foundation works to make this a better Town.

Of course, establishing a Fund also creates a sustainable way to do all of your giving. And, much like a private foundation, your Fund will continue to contribute to the causes you care about for generations to come. 

That said, starting a Fund isn’t the only way you can have an impact in your community with The Foundation. We have several community initiatives that are actively working to make Oakville a better place to live, and many residents choose to donate directly to those efforts. A great example is our Oakville Resiliency Fund. This Fund was our response to the recent pandemic, and we used it to channel resources to frontline charities serving our community. (A list of our current initiatives is available here.)

Another great way to get involved is to support other local philanthropists’ work by donating to their Funds at The Foundation. Many of our Fundholders actively encourage donations to their Funds to help them grant even more to local charities and causes. A great example is the Just Be You Fund, established to help fund a youth mental health program in Oakville. A list of all the Funds that accept donations is available here.

When you decide you want to establish a Fund at the Foundation, there are a few things to consider. How active do you want to be in making granting decisions annually? Do you have specific charities you wish to support, or are you more interested in tackling intractable problems as part of a group? Are you looking to celebrate the life of a loved one? Of course, maybe you want to do all of the above. For this reason, The Foundation offers several Fund types to meet your philanthropic needs. 

To get you started, you will find an outline of our most popular Fund-types below. However, probably the best way to begin is with a name. Many of our Fundholders choose to name their Charitable Fund after a loved one or with their family, just like Bill and Malinda Gates. Of course, some prefer a name that speaks to their goals or just something they find inspiring; it’s really up to you.  

When you’re ready, our team is always happy to talk to you about how we can help craft the right charitable vehicle to meet your goals.  

Donor Advised Fund

Starting at $20,000, this Fund functions much like a private foundation, with your initial gift invested in our Endowment Fund, it will grow over time. Every year, there will be granting dollars available that you can direct to any registered charity in Canada. With a Donor Advised Fund, you decide just how active you want to be. We can help you automate your giving and keep it anonymous, or we can assist you in taking your giving to the next level. The Foundation can provide you with granting research tailored to your philanthropic goals, engagement opportunities with charities, and total freedom to grant to Canadian charities.

Community Fund

Starting at $2,500, establishing a Community Fund is a way of pooling your charitable dollars to support our community’s long-term vitality. This Fund directly invests in programs that align with our Vital Signs and Creating Vital Solutions work, strengthening the quality of life in our local area. You get to choose the causes that matter to you and direct your annual giving to one of our Community Fund programs.

Bequest Fund

Create a Fund today and fund it through your estate when the time comes. It’s a way of ensuring the causes you care about are supported beyond your lifetime. With a Bequest Fund, you can also change the charities you want the Fund to grant to without updating your Will.


For more information, check out our page on starting a Fund here.

Be sure to check out the rest of our Estate Planning Series.

Estate Planning Series

Learn more about Community Philanthropy

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