Create Your Own Fund

Launch Your Local Legacy

With 70 years of experience connecting donors with the causes they care about, we make giving easy. By creating a fund with CFNIL you can accomplish your charitable goals, now and in perpetuity. As your partner in philanthropy, CFNIL is a trustworthy and caring steward of your charitable intentions and contributions.

Any donor, large or small, may establish a fund at the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. Donors identify their charitable goals, then our professional staff helps achieve them. The fund can be named after the donor or someone they wish to honor or memorialize; it may support causes, organizations, or students pursuing education.

Creating Your Own Fund

Who do you want to help? The answer to this question helps determine the type of fund best suited to you. Do you want the flexibility of giving to any charitable organization anywhere, any time? Or, is there a particular charity you want to support? Perhaps there is a particular cause that you are passionate about? Create the fund that makes the difference you want to create.

CFNIL manages several different types of funds:

  • Agency Funds: Established by a nonprofit agency for its own benefit. Agency Funds are permanently endowed, providing a growing and dependable source of unrestricted funding. 
  • Donor Advised Funds: Allow you to be actively involved in your charitable giving. You recommend the charitable organizations to receive grants, and we do the due diligence and paperwork. 
  • Donor Designated Funds: Provide annual support to a designated charitable organization(s) that you specify. 
  • Field of Interest Funds: Support a specific cause, program, geographic area, or other definable "field of interest" that is important to you. In some cases, you may be a part of the grantmaking process!
  • Scholarship Funds: Allow you to make a direct impact on a student's ability to achieve their educational aspirations. Work with CFNIL staff to establish eligibility and selection criteria and even participate in the selection process! Learn more about CFNIL's Scholarship Program.

There is no cost to establish a fund, regardless of the fund type, and no minimum starting balance. CFNIL assesses fees to all funds to cover administrative and operating costs. These fees are charged to the fund balance; you will never receive a bill from CFNIL! 

Fees vary depending on the type of fund; current fees and other fund-type specifications are as follows:

Agency Endowment FundCreated by a nonprofit for its own benefit.0.75% annual fee on the average daily balance of the fund.Gifts made by the Agency itself. Annual distributions of 4% of the fund's rolling 12-quarter average balance.
Donor Advised FundCreated by a donor or donors to facilitate their charitable giving.1.25% annual fee on the average daily balance. If a local grant is made at least annually, the fund receives a 0.5% fee refund.Typically non-endowed. Minimum advised grant of $100, no limit on # of grants that may be made.
Donor Designated Endowment FundCreated by a donor or donors to benefit one or more nonprofit organizations.0.75% annual fee on the average daily balance of the fund.Annual distributions of 4% of the fund's rolling 12-quarter average balance.
Scholarship Endowment FundCreated by a donor or donors to support students.1.25% annual fee on the average daily balance of the fund.Purpose and criteria co-created by donor and staff. Donor(s) may participate in selection process.

Statements providing an accounting of the investment performance and other activities of every fund are provided on a quarterly basis. CFNIL also provides quarterly Stewardship Summaries that provide details on our overall portfolio performance, both the aggregate performance going back 10 years and the current quarter performance for each investment allocation. 

View a sample Stewardship Summary

View a sample Fund Statement

Which Solution is Right for Me?

Whether you want to support students or nonprofits, a single organization or many causes, the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois has a solution to help accomplish your charitable goals.

Have questions about setting up an endowment? We're here to help! Call 779-210-8203 or email us to schedule an appointment with CFNIL staff.

Thanks to donors like you, every year the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois distributes more than $5 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and scholarships for students. CFNIL’s competitive grantmaking programs account for nearly half of those funds. To learn more about CFNIL’s community impact, visit our Grants and Scholarships pages.

Questions? Let us help you get started. Contact Ciara!

Ciara Stahly - Assistant Development Director - headshot
Ciara Stahly
Assistant Development Director
Phone: 779-210-8203
Email: Ciara Stahly
Donors who establish scholarship funds with CFNIL benefit from the expertise and administrative capacity of staff who organize and manage the entire scholarship application and selection process. Donors may also participate in a scholarship selection committee, which reviews applications and makes the final selection for awards. CFNIL works hard to make the process easy for both Donors and scholarship applicants, so the intent and legacy of each scholarship fund is fully met each and every year.