What is CREATE Foundation?

CREATE Foundation, founded in 1972, is a nonprofit charitable organization that aims to improve the quality of life for the people of Northeast Mississippi by:

  • Building permanent community endowment assets
  • Strengthening regional community development capacity
  • Providing leadership on key community issues
  • Managing charitable funds contributed by individuals, families, organizations and corporations
  • Addressing community opportunities through targeted grant-making

Who does CREATE Foundation serve?

CREATE Foundation serves the 17-county region of Northeast Mississippi (Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Lowndes, Marshall, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union). CREATE Foundation also has 12 Community Affiliate Foundations that focus exclusively on fundraising and grantmaking in the county it serves. Our Community Affiliates are located in Alcorn, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Clay, Monroe (2), Lafayette, Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Tippah, Union, and Itawamba Counties.

Who governs CREATE Foundation?

Our board of directors, which is made up of regional business and community leaders, oversees the management and policies of CREATE Foundation. Each Community Affiliate foundation also has a local board. The Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi also has its own governing board.

What is an Affiliate?

CREATE has 12 local community foundations at work in counties in our region. Affiliates are led by a local board made up of local community leaders. The Community Affiliate makes local grants and directs efforts to develop more grantmaking resources for an improved quality of life in its county.

What is an endowment?

An endowment is a permanent fund that is invested. A portion of the earnings, typically four percent, is used annually for charitable purposes, while the principal is never spent. It is invested in such a way as to ensure that it will grow over the years and continue to do good things forever.

While Mississippi continues to rank at the top of the nation in charitable giving based on average annual income, we rank very low on building permanent endowed charitable resources. This means that we give away a bigger percentage of our income than other states to support our local charities. But, we have very little in terms of charitable “savings accounts” built up for the benefit of our region.

Building endowed resources for our region is a major focus of CREATE Foundation.

What organizations are supported by CREATE Foundation?

For over 40 years, CREATE has granted millions of dollars to improve our region. Grants are made to a variety of organizations in areas such as education, youth development, health and social services, and regional community development. Grant recipients must have 501(c)(3) status.

How is a Community Foundation like CREATE different from other nonprofits?

Generally, nonprofit organizations raise money for their specific cause. They meet immediate social needs, and operate more like a “checking account” –raising and spending funds on an annual operating basis. Typically, what they raise is given completely to their cause each year. Their funds typically do not earn interest.

The operation of community foundations differs slightly. CREATE operates more as a “savings account”, with most of its money invested through endowments that earn interest. The interest and fees are used to make grants and fund programs or initiatives of the community foundation. The principal of the endowment is never touched, so the fund lives and grows at CREATE Foundation in perpetuity.

Also, nonprofits typically support one cause or a specific issue, but community foundations support the causes and organizations of interest to their donors. Endowed funds, support organizations, or donor advised funds might be used to support any number of charitable interests.

Who are CREATE's donors?

Our donors are individuals, families, corporations, private foundations, and charitable organizations who wish to make a difference in the lives of others and to make the community a better place. Donors range from people of modest means to those with substantial financial resources.

Why should I become a donor?

Becoming a donor means that you will help your community in your own way for generations to come. CREATE Foundation helps you meet your charitable objectives. You also have the benefits of flexibility and efficiency with CREATE Foundation. Because the legal status as a public charity is already in place, existing forms are available so that a fund can be established and the maximum tax advantages secured in a very short time.

What are the financial and tax benefits of giving through CREATE Foundation?

CREATE offers you a number of important financial benefits through charitable giving. Because we manage many funds, administrative costs and service fees for your fund are minimized. Another important advantage is that the Federal tax code provides significant incentives for contributions to a community foundation. Please contact someone on our staff or your professional financial planner for more specific benefits based on your unique situation.

Gifts to CREATE Foundation during your lifetime are deductible to the maximum extent permissible under current tax law. For gifts of cash, that’s 50 percent of adjusted gross income (and if in any year donations exceed the percentage limitations set by law, the excess may be carried over the next five years).

There is also a considerable tax benefit for gifts of appreciated property. The full market value of such gifts to community foundations (long term capital gain property such as stocks and bonds, or real estate) is deductible up to 30 percent of adjusted gross income.

What services do I receive as a donor?

CREATE Foundation provides the IRS reporting, fund accounting, investment management, and financial accountability for funds. CREATE assures that all grant and scholarship recipients meet the IRS criteria for tax-exempt status. Where appropriate, CREATE helps advise recipients of the donor’s intent to request proposals or fund certain categories of interest. Donors receive quarterly fund statements and are kept informed of special community needs, grant opportunities, and high quality organizations.

How do I set up a fund?

Starting a fund is simple and can easily be done in a day. You can set up an unrestricted fund to help meet a variety of needs within the community. Specify a purpose, area of concern or organization to support with a field of interest fund. With a donor advised fund, you can be actively involved in grantmaking decisions. You also name your fund – for yourself, a spouse, family members, a company, or a friend.

What can I give to CREATE Foundation?

We accept cash, publicly traded and privately held securities, real and personal property, bequests, charitable lead and remainder trusts, gift annuities and other assets. Giving real estate or securities that have appreciated in value increases the worth of your donation. Selling the property would result in a substantial tax to you on appreciation, whereas a gift to CREATE Foundation incurs no tax and also entitles you to a tax deduction for the full value.

A gift to CREATE may be made as part of a life income agreement, an irrevocable gift that can provide an annual income paid to you for the remainder of your life. Based on individual circumstances, this gift can create substantial income plus inheritance tax benefits. Options include Charitable Remainder Trusts or Charitable Gift Annuities.

What is the difference between a private foundation and a community foundation? Are there important tax differences?

Community foundations have the tax advantages of a public charity and the personal quality of a private foundation.

  • Gifts of cash and ordinary income property to a community foundation are deductible up to 50 percent of adjusted gross income versus 30 percent for a private foundation.
  • Gifts of appreciated property are deductible up to 30 percent for a community foundation versus 20 percent for a private foundation.
  • There is no excise tax on community foundations or 5% distribution requirement as there is on private foundations

Can I give anonymously?

Yes. CREATE Foundation respects the donor’s privacy if he/she does not wish to be recognized.

Can you help me find effective charities or causes to support?

Yes. Our professional staff is knowledgeable about the nonprofit community and the issues and opportunities in our region, and we are happy to help.

What if I don't have a favorite charity or cause?

You can give to the CREATE Unrestricted Endowment. The CREATE board reviews proposals and evaluates our community’s needs and makes grant to appropriate charities.