Support Your Community

The SouthCoast Community Foundation provides ongoing learning and networking opportunities throughout the year.

Search Our Funds

The SouthCoast Community Foundation makes it simple for donors to make a difference in our community. We provide a range of donation options, from establishing your own fund to donating to one of our existing funds, we provide you with the resources you need to meet your goals for charitable giving. The following is a list of the current funds at the SouthCoast Community Foundation created by the contributions of a donor or a group of donors. Each fund carries a name chosen by the donor(s).

Types of Funds

We offer a wide range of options for donors considering establishing a fund, from ways you can give right now to ways you can give later.

Advised Funds: Advised Funds allow the donor(s) to make tax-deductible gifts to the Foundation and then to make suggestions to the Board of Directors for the philanthropic use of the fund.

Presently the Community Foundation over 50 committee advised and donor advised funds. These funds provide philanthropic vehicles for families and groups to distribute grants and gifts to charities they care about. In several instances these funds were established as alternatives to or successors to private foundations.

Establishing an Advised Fund at the Community Foundation offers many benefits that include:

  • Maintaining your role in choosing the recipients of your grants and scholarships
  • Managing your administrative activities including meetings and correspondence
  • Assisting you with the review and evaluation of scholarships applications, grantee proposals and performance
  • Providing investment management and oversight
  • Eliminating accounting, filing and management fees
  • Providing technical assistance in fundraising, marketing, and Board development.

Donor Advised: The donor may recommend that grants be made from the income and/or principal of the fund for nonprofit purposes. While tax laws require that the Community Foundation not be bound by the donor’s suggestion, the Distribution Committee is pleased to have the opportunity to consider grants to recommended beneficiaries whose needs are consistent with its distribution policies. Such advice can include ideas for support of a specific nonprofit organization and/or programs of interest to the donor. This fund is the choice for individuals and family groups who want to work with the Community Foundation staff to develop and implement tailored giving programs.

Committee Advised: The largest Committee Advised Fund, the Acushnet Foundation Fund, merged into the Community Foundation in 2005 after a 50 year existence as an independent private foundation. The Acushnet Foundation Fund currently has more than $8 million in assets.

For more information regarding establishing an Advised Fund at the Community Foundation, please contact the John Vasconcellos at, 508-996-8253 ext. 201.

Designated Funds: For the donor who wishes to provide permanent support to a particular nonprofit organization or a number of nonprofit organizations. Principal and income can be distributed in accordance with the donor. However, the IRS requires the Community Foundation’s board to give final approval for all distributions. This fund is selected by people who wish to provide annual support to one or more designated charitable organizations in perpetuity. For many, this is a way to endow their annual giving to organizations they have supported over the years.

Field of Interest Funds: The donor may specify a particular area of concern or interest but not an organization. This frees the gift from restrictions if not relevant or practical in the future. The Distribution Committee advises the donor on disbursement of the funds, and selects the most appropriate program within the fields specified by the donor. This fund appeals to people who prefer to direct their contributions for specific areas of interest or concern such as support for the homeless, public education, or the performing arts.

Organizational Endowment Funds: A number of Southcoast nonprofit organizations have entrusted the Foundation with management of their endowments and receive regular grant distributions from their fund.

Scholarship Funds: Scholarship funds are accepted by the Community Foundation to develop support of, and participation in, the philanthropic interests and activities of the Foundation and the greater Southeastern Massachusetts community We currently manage 65 scholarship funds. They are a means of encouraging endowment support, stimulating interchange of ideas between donors and the Foundation, promoting educational opportunity and providing funds to extend the charitable programs of the Foundation. The Foundation encourages donors to create scholarship funds that will remain as permanent endowments in the Foundation.

Creative Commonwealth Initiative

The Creative Commonwealth Initiative is a philanthropic program designed to elevate arts and culture in Fall River and New Bedford.

Since 2017, we have been focusing charitable funding on the artistic and cultural needs in our community. We aim to increase access and artistic expression in New Bedford and Fall River, with an emphasis on underserved, youth, culturally diverse, and immigrant populations.

The Creative Commonwealth Initiative is improving collaboration and building capacity in our creative community by using a model that can be replicated throughout the region and will grow and diversify philanthropic investment in arts and culture.

Under the guidance and direction of our Arts & Culture Committee, which is comprised of an immensely talented and eclectic mix of volunteers from throughout the SouthCoast, we have awarded over $500,000 in direct grants, supported organizations through capacity building training, and launched a summer program that provides transportation so students can participate in the region’s arts and culture offerings. We have also helped to build a network for art-serving organizations in the SouthCoast.

Our Goals

The Creative Commonwealth Initiative aims to:

  1. Better support and engage youth and culturally diverse communities in the SouthCoast region.
  2. Connect arts and cultural organizations and support their community engagement endeavors.
  3. Increase support and expand audiences for emerging arts and cultural organizations.
  4. Increase public awareness and support for public art projects among municipal and business leaders.
  5. Better equip staff and volunteers to manage and steward their nonprofit organizations.
  6. Establish the SouthCoast Community Foundation as a leader in cultivating charitable donations for arts and culture initiatives.

What We Do

The SouthCoast Community Foundation has found that arts and culture nonprofit organizations in the region often operate on limited budgets without adequate resources and strategic expertise.

Through the Creative Commonwealth Initiative, we aim to close this gap by investing in building the capacity of small nonprofit organizations and providing guidance, education, and support for our nonprofit partners.

In 2019, we offered a monthly training series covering topics such as fundraising, marketing and branding, board governance, financial management, human resources and compliance, performance evaluation, program development, and more.

These sessions allowed for networking and idea-sharing among the nonprofit cohort and offered necessary training to enable participants to successfully execute the mission of their organization. Such capacity building will continue to be a vital part of the Creative Commonwealth Initiative. For 2020-2022, we are moving forward working with this same cohort of organizations and offering individualized support through one-on-one consulting in areas of need identified by the organizations.

We also seek to strengthen the network of arts and culture organizations and artists in both Fall River and New Bedford. This will lead to greater collaboration and improved sharing of knowledge and resources within our arts community.

By increasing our internal capacity, we are able to better serve our community and extend our outreach through social media and networking. We aim to further develop our knowledge to promote diversity, access, and opportunity in our community, specifically surrounding our engagement with the arts.

We will continue to fund projects and programs that will benefit our community. As of now, we have awarded over $500,000 for public art projects, cultural expression projects, and general operating support grants. The grantees have displayed a commitment to working with and for youth, immigrants, and culturally diverse communities. Their programs and projects are innovative, collaborative, and reflective of the audiences they’re serving. We are proud to invest in nonprofits that are community-driven and see the arts as a way to challenge, inspire, and change lives.

Additionally, by implementing programs that engage new philanthropic investment in culturally diverse populations, we help build trust while improving the overall quality of life for our residents and those who visit the area. Increasing local philanthropic support will ensure that arts and culture organizations can continue the important work they’re doing.

Apply to the Creative Commonwealth Initiative

We will actively seek proposals from organizations engaging youth and serving culturally diverse populations and immigrants.

In alignment with one of our key partners, the Barr Foundation’s Arts and Creativity Program, we welcome applicants that embrace artistic risk-taking and bold organizational change; expand the diversity of creative experiences and audiences, and present work that inspires with its excellence and relevance.

The application window for 2020 has passed. We will have another grant round open in Winter 2021.