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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Heron Creek Community Foundation?

On May 1, 2023, the Heron Creek Community Foundation became recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a stand-alone 501(c)(3) organization. As a result, we are now considered a public charity, which is defined by the IRS as, “a nonprofit organization that receives a substantial portion of its income or revenue from the general public or the government”. The 501(c)(3) status offers a myriad of benefits to the designated organizations and the people they serve. For starters, 501(c)(3) organizations are exempt from paying federal income and unemployment taxes, and patrons who donate to them are allowed to claim a tax deduction for their contributions.

What are the goals of the Foundation?

The goal of the Heron Creek Community Foundation (HCCF) is to improve the quality of life of the residents of North Port by financially supporting qualified charitable organizations that serve those in need and through other nonfinancial activities. Additionally, we continue to build and grow an endowment fund which will provide support for those in need in perpetuity.

What are the benefits of being a member of the Foundation?
  • Sense of Community—You will feel good knowing you are helping to improve the lives of our North Port neighbors in need just outside the gates of our community.
  • Give with Confidence—You can rest assured that worthy grant recipients have been properly vetted and that 99+% of money raised by HCCF goes to local North Port charities and individuals.
  • Various ways to contribute—Your $100 annual membership funds future grants; and/or you can choose to participate in our fundraisers, food drives, and other charitable activities throughout the year.

Be a good neighbor and help improve the lives of those around you. Join the Heron Creek Community Foundation today!

What is the difference in giving to the Foundation and giving directly to a charitable organization?

As Richelle Goodrich once said, “There is strength in numbers, yes, but even more so in collective good will. For those endeavors are supported by mighty forces unseen.”  The benefits of collective giving may be seen in the grants we’ve given to Take Stock In Children.  Our $4,000 grant is given to sponsor an at-risk student, who qualifies through very specific criteria, to pursue a college education.  Our $4,000 is then matched by an anonymous donor, bringing the total to $8,000.  The $8,000 is then matched with a Florida state scholarship through the Students At Risk (STAR) program, which becomes a $16,000 tuition scholarship.  It is truly a remarkable way to turn an individual $100 donation into a full year scholarship for a needy student who has demonstrated a real desire to attend college.

Is one method of giving better than the other?

No one method of giving is superior to the other. There will always be needs to be filled, both immediate and long-term. For example, a monetary or in-kind donation to a food bank helps fill an immediate need. A donation to the Foundation will provide benefit for years to come because the principal will continue to generate income which will be awarded as grants to charitable organizations year after year.

Who decides where the money goes?

A Grants Committee, composed solely of Foundation members, accepts yearly grant requests from 501(c)(3) organizations serving the North Port area. The committee reviews grant requests, financial documents, and makes site visits as appropriate. The Grants Committee findings and recommendations are passed along to the Foundation’s Board of Directors, who then approve or deny each grant request.

How do charitable organizations qualify for grants from HCCF?

The requesting charity must be a 501(c)(3) organization which serves North Port and has been fully operational for at least two years. Each charity submits a grant application as well as a list of required documents to the Grants Committee, including but not limited to a list of its Board of Directors, a copy of its current 501(c)(3) letter from the IRS and its budget or latest audit. Each prospective recipient must also provide an explanation as to how the requested donation moneys will be spent.

How do charitable organizations know how to submit grant requests to HCCF?

The HCCF grant application and submission instructions are provided on our website. Charitable organizations are encouraged to contact the Foundation to see if their request is within our guidelines before spending its staff and volunteer time writing a grant proposal.

How many grants will be awarded each year?

The number of grants awarded annually is a function of the grant requests received, coupled with the amount of funds available. The available funds are a combination of the net proceeds from our fund-raising events plus investment returns, less investment expenses.

How do I know the grant is used for what it is intended?

Upon making a grant request, the requesting charitable organization executes a form which allows the Foundation reasonable access to evaluate the grant request and they are required to provide details regarding the planned usage of any grant money awarded. As appropriate, additional follow-up and/or site visits may also be made to approved grant recipients.

How do I find out what the Foundation is doing and where grants were awarded?

The Foundation website provides a list of all grants awarded by year and by recipient. In the members only section of the website, members may view the minutes of all Board meetings and monthly financial statements. HCCF believes in full transparency. 

How does HCCF raise money to make grants?

HCCF raises money through membership and other contributions, as well as ongoing fundraising events. The HCCF Board of Directors is responsible for determining the amount of money available for distribution and the final approval of all grant request disbursements.

Be a good neighbor and help improve the lives of those around you.

Join the Heron Creek Community Foundation today!

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