Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the FM Area Foundation?

    The FM Area Foundation is a community foundation created in 1960 by and for the people of Cass County, N.D., and Clay County, Minn. The FM Area Foundation helps people give back to the community and ensures the needs of the community are addressed now and in perpetuity. Working in partnership with individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits, the FM Area Foundation manages more than 300 charitable funds and provides grants to qualified nonprofit organizations and causes.

    The FM Area Foundation is accredited by the Community Foundations National Standards. The National Standards ensure the values of community foundations are demonstrated through their commitment to legal compliance, philanthropic best practices and excellence that benefits communities.

    The FM Area Foundation invests approximately $2 million each year into the community through grants and scholarships.

  • What is a community foundation?

    A community foundation is a grantmaking public charity created by and for a community of people. It is supported by local donors and governed by a board of private citizens who work toward the greater good of the citizens in the community. Funds come from a variety of sources, including bequests and living trusts, and are invested. The investment earnings are then distributed to worthy organizations or causes. There are more than 750 community foundations in the United States and more than 1800 worldwide.

  • What is the minimum balance to start a fund?

    All funds may be established with an initial minimum contribution of $5,000. Funds must reach $25,000 within five years. Once the fund reaches $25,000, gifts of any size are accepted.

  • How are you different from commercial funds?

    What sets us apart from commercial funds is our expertise in local issues and nonprofits. We review all grant recommendations made by the donor and offer due diligence on grant recipients. We help donor’s gifts benefit the community forever and help create personal legacies for donors through permanent, endowed funds.

  • What types of gifts do you accept?

    We work with each donor to accept a variety of outright and deferred gifts, including life insurance, real estate, retirement plan beneficiary designations and more. Please see our gift acceptance policy for the comprehensive list of assets the Foundation accepts.

  • What kinds of funds can my clients establish?

    We offer a variety of funds and flexible options to help donors receive tax benefits while giving to causes they are passionate about.

  • What is the fee structure?

    While there is no fee to initiate a fund with us, we do charge an annual administrative fee to help offset the cost of operating the fund, and there is a fund manager fee set by the individual investment manager.

    Donor Advised or Designated Fund 1.125% under $1 million .375% over $1 million
    Unrestricted or Field of Interest Fund 1.125% under $1 million .375% over $1 million
    Supporting Organization 1.125% under $1 million .375% over $1 million
    Scholarship Fund 2.125%  
    Pass Through Fund 2.125%  
    Agency (Nonprofit) Funds 20% nonprofit discount  
  • Can I continue to manage the charitable funds for my client?

    There is sometimes a perception that referring clients to us will result in lost business for existing managers and advisors, but this simply isn’t the case. Donors have the option to recommend their own fund manager when establishing a charitable fund through the FM Area Foundation. We understand the value of the relationships you’ve built, and we want to help facilitate your client’s giving while helping you grow your business. Advisors who work with us and follow our investment policy can become part of our fund manager portfolio.