What are the differences between the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and a commercial gift fund?

The Foundation offers a more highly personalized giving and grantmaking experience to its fund holders. With more than 100 years in the community, the Foundation has a long reputation of working with individuals and families to bring their mission to life and ensure their wishes are followed, even after they are gone.

Why should my client create a fund at the Foundation rather than start a private foundation?

Donors can create a Foundation fund at no cost and without the burden of administrative details. Unlike a private foundation, their fund is not subject to excise taxes or a minimum annual distribution. With a Foundation fund, donors make as many grants as they want each year from their fund -- or none at all. The Foundation performs the due diligence and provides all administrative services including any IRS filings. In addition, our Community Impact staff members are available to provide in-depth and helpful information on agencies that address their areas of interest.

Does my client need hundreds of thousands of dollars to start a fund?

For as little as $25,000, your client can start a Foundation fund and there are no start up costs.

Why is a gift agreement important?

By having your client’s charitable goals and wishes spelled out in a gift agreement, the Foundation is ready to immediately begin fulfilling their vision when the fund is established. Because we take our role as stewards of our donors’ charitable wishes very seriously, we consider the agreement as our contract with your client and we are committed to following their intent forever.  

What is the cost of having a Foundation fund? 

There is no cost to start a fund. A competitive annual administrative fee is assessed on all funds and varies by fund type. 

Does my client decide how their money is invested?

Foundation donors may choose from four investment pools – the GMF Investment Pool or one of our three trustee banks – U.S. Bank, BMO Global Asset Management, and JPMorgan Chase Trust. All investment pools follow the asset allocation guidelines set forth by the Foundation’s volunteer Investment Committee and are closely monitored by the committee.

Do grants have to be made only in the Milwaukee area?

Grants can be made to qualified charities anywhere in the United States or around the world.

Can my client name others to serve as successor advisers to their fund?

Your client may name one successor adviser, or a set of successor co-advisers, to serve immediately following the initial fund adviser(s). Certain minimum fund balances must be maintained for the fund to accommodate subsequent successor advisers. At this time, a fund with a balance of $250,000 or more may accommodate one set of subsequent successor advisers to serve following the immediate successor adviser(s). The current minimum fund balance to accommodate successor advisers in perpetuity is $1,000,000. Learn more about creating a legacy of giving through the story of the Jorgensen family.

How do I help my clients get started?

Easy to understand sample gift language is available online to help your clients start thinking about their charitable giving. If you would like more information about how the Foundation can help, contact Kristen Mekemson.

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To learn more about how we can be a resource to you and your clients, contact Kristen Mekemson.

Donor Story


Third generation of Scotland native carries on family's legacy of giving with the Foundation's help. Read more >>