The Community Foundation uses special funds to designate specific purposes for its resources. Some have been created by the Board of Trustees itself to meet a community need. Others have been created by donors who wish to assure support for their charitable goals. If the purpose of a special fund can no longer be met, the Board of Trustees is committed to redirecting that fund to an equivalent purpose so that the expectations of donors will still be realized.
The Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Thus, donations to any of the special funds summarized below qualify as deductible donations to a charity. All funds — both donor-defined and trustee-created — are open to new donations.
Sometimes donors wish to have their generosity applied to specific purposes. Often this desire is linked to having that purpose serve as an ongoing memorial to a beloved family member who has died, but special funds other than memorials are also appropriate. As long as the purpose is valid for charitable foundations and meets the policies of the Board of Trustees, the Community Foundation will entertain the creation of donor-defined funds.
To simplify the creation of donor-defined funds, the Board of Trustees has a Donor Defined Fund General Policy that covers all such funds. Then, when a donor wishes to create a specific fund, the details can be expressed in a brief supplemental policy for that fund only. Any officer of the Community Foundation can authorize the provisional creation of a donor-defined fund, after which deductible donations may be made to that fund. However, no grants can be issued from a donor-defined fund until both the requesting donor and the Board of Trustees approve the supplemental policy.
The Community Foundation currently has the following donor-defined funds:
- The Sam Levine Memorial Fund. The fund awards one graduating senior at Oak Park High School $500.00 to help future educational goals.
- The Lilian Ross Library Fund. The Fund is to be used to support acquisitions for the collections at the Oak Park Public Library, a branch of the Ventura County Library System.
- The Jim Benton Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund was created to provide financial assistance to one or more Medea Creek Middle School student(s) attending the Washington, DC Spring Break trip and/or one or more Oak Park High School student attending the summer trip to Europe.
- The Adam Levine Memorial Scholarship Fund.
- The Brian M Wolverton Memorial Fund. Each year the fund will award one or more graduating seniors from the Oak Park Unified School District a sum of money in recognition of the student’s exemplary citizenship and character.
- The Sydney Ross Memorial Fund was created by Mr. Ross’s sons on the event of their mother’s 75th birthday. From its earnings, this fund provides grants to public recreation and amateur athletic programs in California in recognition of Mr. Ross’s lifelong interest in sports. The grants are made upon recommendations from Mr. Ross’s family.
- The Judy Colford Memorial Fund presents an annual plaque to an outstanding eighth-grade student from Medea Creek Middle School, where Mrs. Colford worked for several years. This award is based on character and not on scholastic performance. Grants from this fund pay the costs of the award plaque upon presentation of an invoice.
- The Oak Park CERT Fund supports the Community Emergency Response Team, a group of volunteers organized and trained to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies within Oak Park. This support includes the costs of supplies, equipment, and training beyond what Ventura County provides this auxiliary to the Fire Protection District and Sheriff’s Department.
- The OPEN Fund supports the Outstanding Professionals Experience Network, the unit of Experience Unlimited that serves Ventura County. This program organizes unemployed professionals in managerial, administrative, and technical careers as volunteers to help each other re-enter their professions.
- The “community” of Oak View High School honored long-time educator Christine Brown on her retirement by creating the Christine E. Brown Excellence Award to issue scholarship grants to graduates from Oak View High School who are enrolling in higher education or taking specialized career training.
- When a young man died in a vehicle accident early in 2002, his family created the Anton Sokolow-Nikolic Golf Scholarship Fund as an ongoing tribute to a life tragically cut short. This fund provides scholarship grants to graduates from Oak Park High School who have participated on the school’s golf team. This Fund also helps support the team and subsidizes participation by teens in a golf program operated by the Ventura County Junior Golf Association.
- The Sam Manocchia Memorial Fund grants scholarships and support programs at Oak View High School in memory of a student who suddenly died from sleep apnea. The scholarships emphasize recognition to students who have struggled to overcome difficult life challenges and serve as a confirmation of those students’ potential.
- The Millie Andress Memorial Scholarship Fund grants scholarships to students graduating from Oak View High School. This fund is a memorial to Ms. Andress, who served as Principal at that school for many years, and targets students who have shown leadership, growth in character, and a realization of self-worth.
- The OVHS Character Award fund awards one or more graduating seniors from Oak View High School a sum of money in recognition of the student’s unique and/or exemplary character.
- The Lisa M. Flynn Promotico Memorial Scholarship Fund.
- The Dana Sheehan Memorial Scholarship for Courage and Perseverance fund. Each year, the Dana Sheehan Memorial Scholarship for Courage and Perseverance (DSMSCP) will award at least one graduating senior at Oak Park High School a sum of money in recognition for that student’s demonstrated courage and perseverance in overcoming illness or injury, particularly cancer, or their experience in helping a loved on overcome their illness or injury
Individuals who would like to establish donor-defined funds should be aware of the following:
- The purpose must be appropriate for a charity.
- For a donation to be complete — and thus acceptable to the IRS — our Board of Trustees must have control over the donation and must have final authority to issue grants from it.
- We must reserve the right to redirect the fund’s support to an equivalent purpose if your originally targeted need no longer exists. We do not make such changes merely because the need you identified is no longer popular or because we know of a better need. We do this only if your original intent cannot be met. In that case, we try to identify a need that is similar to your original intent (unless you request otherwise and suggest an unrelated need).
- See Administration of Special Funds below.
While the Board of Trustees controls our donor-defined funds, we value the input and advice we receive from our donors on how those funds are operated. Indeed, for most of our donor-defined funds, no grants are issued without a request either from the donor or else from a committee established in accord with the donor’s wishes.
On occasion, the Board of Trustees notes an important community need and allocates money from its general fund to establish special trustee-created funds. The Community Foundation currently has the following trustee-created fund:
- When the Oak Park Civic Association dissolved in 1986, that non-profit corporation’s remaining funds were donated to the Community Foundation, which created the Civic Association Fund. This fund has been used to pay the costs of the Golden Acorn Award for outstanding civic volunteers and for a candidates’ forum before local elections.
Administration of Special Funds
(For structured donations, the following applies only to money released for our current charitable use and not to money held in a structured trust. Money held in a structured trust is administered entirely by the California Community Foundation.)
We do not create a separate trust for a special fund. Each fund is maintained as a bookkeeping entry. Moneys from all funds — both donor-defined and trustee-created — are pooled with other long-term resources of the Community Foundation for Oak Park in an investment with the California Community Foundation (CCF), which has been operating since 1915 and currently holds $2,600,000,000 in resources across 1,870 funds.
Although the CCF follows a conservative investment philosophy, the value of our pooled investment — and thus the balance remaining in any donor-defined fund — may fluctuate.
The CCF levies approximately a 0.5% annual administrative fee on the principal held in the pooled investment fund plus the costs of investment transactions.
The Community Foundation for Oak Park does not levy any administrative fee on its special funds, neither on the balance in a fund nor against donations to a fund. However, when apportioning the income from our investment with the CCF, 10% of that income is reserved for our Foundation’s general fund for administrative costs. The remaining 90% of the income is then distributed to each fund — the general fund, donor-defined funds, and trustee-created funds — according to the balance in each fund.