Tipton County Foundation
Growing, Leading, and Serving Since 1986!
PO Box 412 • Tipton, IN 46072 •

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The Tipton County Foundation is accredited in compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™, a program that establishes legal, ethical, effective practices in philanthropy.

Email the Foundation's President


Frank Giammarino
 for information about funds, investments, events, and volunteering

Community Development Officer
Lori Tragesser
for Grants
Women's Fund

Education Program Officer
Chad Huff

for Scholarships Ducky Day in Tipton Park, and youth philanthropy

Rhonda Nightenhelser
meeting room reservations, donor receipts, payments to vendors


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Board of Directors

Board Members' Materials

Conference Center

1020 W. Jefferson St.

(Please send all mail to PO Box 412.)
Info &

Frequently Asked Questions

Follow the underlined hyperlinks for more details.

Click to find the answer to each question, then return here (Top.)

  1. What is the Tipton County Foundation?

  2. What is a Community Foundation?

  3. What is meant by “Volunteer-driven?”

  4. What is a Public Charity?

  5. What is the Public Support Test?

  6. What are the Programs of the Tipton County Foundation?

  7. What is a Community Fund?

  8. What other Funds does the Foundation include?

  9. Does the Foundation control every charitable contribution and nonprofit organization in Tipton County?

  10. How can I participate?

What is the Tipton County Foundation?

Through philanthropic donor services, strategic grantmaking, and constructive leadership, the Tipton County Foundation, your hometown community foundation, unites the gifts of many to sustain the causes that matter to all— now, and for all generations to come.

Founded and guided by Volunteers since 1986, contributions to TCF are tax-deductible under section 501(c)(3) and the public charity provisions of sections 509 and 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The IRS recognized the Tipton County Foundation in July 1986 as exempt from federal income tax. You can read and/or print a copy of our determination letter. (Federal ID 31-1175045)

Tipton County Foundation was recognized in January 2007 for having organizational and financial practices that are in accordance with the Ethical and Operational Standards for Indiana Community Foundations. These Standards demonstrate the foundations’ transparency and financial responsibility in light of the increased public scrutiny of foundation practices. In addition, Standards were developed to distinguish community foundations from other philanthropic vehicles, build the capacity of community foundations to carry out their missions, and assist the field with self-regulation in a manner viewed positively by the Internal Revenue Service. In order to achieve Confirmation of Compliance with the National Standards, community foundations must undergo an extensive review of their organizational and financial policies and procedures. The review is performed by trained, experienced community foundation practitioners, coordinated through the Indiana Grantmakers Alliance. Back to Top

What is a Community Foundation?

A tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, nonsectarian philanthropic institution with a long-term goal of building permanent, named component funds established by many separate donors for the broad-based charitable benefit of the residents of a defined geographic area, typically no larger than a state.

There are over 90 community foundations and affiliate funds in Indiana. If you do not live or work in, or have roots in, or another connection to Tipton County and its people or institutions, you may want to use the resources of the Indiana Grantmakers Alliance. Use this tool to locate a community foundation near you.

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What is meant by “Volunteer-driven” or "Guided by Volunteers?"

TCF is governed by a Board of Directors who serve four-year terms without financial compensation. No one can serve more than ten consecutive years, but may be re-elected or appointed after a lapse of at least one year. The names, terms, and electing or appointing authority for the current Board may be found on the Vision and Values page of this website.

The Board regularly meets quarterly and makes policy decisions, approves committee recommendations, develops strategic and operational plans, and evaluates staff. They also individually lead and serve on operating committees.

The role of staff is to assist volunteers with planning, organization, development, and evaluation of all aspects of the Foundation. The employees perform administrative duties, follow Board-adopted policies, comply with government regulations and other laws, communicate with Foundation grantees, vendors, and other contacts, and recommend plans, policies, and procedural alternatives for Board or committee decisions. Staff members help to develop meeting agendas, monitor follow-up, prepare communications, and accomplish objectives, all under volunteer direction.

Major committees meet quarterly, or more frequently when needed, and include Board members as well as other members of the public who have a particular interest or expertise in the work of that committee. The current active committees are Finance/Investment, Grantmaking, Scholarships, Resource Development, Volunteer Development, and Conference Center.

Project sub-committees are also formed to diversify volunteer input and leadership even more, and to enable community members to take part in the aspects of the Foundation that interest them. Active sub-committees are currently working on A Ducky Day in Tipton Park (August 24, 2008) and the growth of the Women’s Fund.

Additionally, a committee is being formed in 2008 that will focus on a project to develop a Volunteer Center to assist all the organizations that depend on volunteers to make them work, including clubs, churches, schools, sports leagues, and other institutions, as well as the social service agencies. Also, representatives of the incorporated nonprofit agencies will be asked to make plans for the future of the United Community Fund as a means of collaborative fundraising. If they decide to go forward, campaign and allocation committees will be organized with grassroots involvement of more people.

People with roots, residence, or business in Tipton County are welcome to become Foundation volunteers. Orientation meetings are scheduled as needed and an agreement is signed by both the new volunteer and a Foundation representative. Fundamental to every “job description” is the commitment to make a personally significant investment of time, talent, and treasure in a particular aspect of the Tipton County Foundation, and encourage others to do the same. A PowerPoint presentation about Foundation operations may be viewed on this website. Back to Top

What is a Public Charity?

A nonprofit organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code and that receives its financial support from a broad segment of the general public. Organizations exempt under Section 501(c)(3) must pass a public support test to be considered public charities, or must be formed to benefit an organization that is a public charity. Charitable organizations that are not public charities are private foundations and are subject to more stringent regulatory and reporting requirements. Back to Top

What is the Public Support Test?

There are two public support tests, both of which are designed to ensure that a charitable organization is responsive to the general public rather than to a limited number of people. One test, sometimes referred to as 509(a)(1) or 170(b)(1)(A)(vi), is for charities that rely mainly on gifts, grants, and contributions. To be automatically classed as a public charity under this test, organizations must show that they normally receive at least one-third of their support from the general public (including government agencies and foundations).

The second test, sometimes referred to as the 509(a)(2) test, applies to charities that get a substantial part of their income from the sale of services that further their mission. These charities must pass a one-third/one-third test. That is, they must demonstrate that their sales and contributions normally add up to at least one-third of their financial support, but their income from investments and unrelated business activities does not exceed one-third of support. Back to Top

What are the Programs of the Tipton County Foundation?

In order to have the resources needed to improve the quality of Tipton County life, the Foundation’s primary function is to work with donors. Everyone can be a philanthropist through the Tipton County Foundation. If a fund does not exist already to fulfill a donor’s charitable intent, it can probably be created in a legal and ethical manner, that will accomplish the donor’s wishes for all time. 

Endowed dollars are invested to provide the proceeds that can be spent each year. Besides the direct distribution of fund earnings for their intended purposes, contributions and earnings provide resources for grants to Tipton County groups for the charitable projects they care about. 

The Foundation administers funds contributed for certain well-known programs, raising the money and paying it out as needed by the organizations that actually run the programs. For example:

  • City of Tipton Fireworks

  • Shoes for Kids, now administered by Tipton County Mustard Seed

  • Medicine Chest, a prescription fund now operated by the Tipton County Senior Center

The Foundation also assists other groups by collecting and growing their building funds, or unincorporated charitable efforts, like Eagle Scout service projects, by handling donations in a legal manner.

Projects administered more directly by the Foundation include:

  • A Ducky Day in Tipton Park, a family-oriented community activity involving every interested group that focuses on young children.

  • Higher Education Promotion, involving administration of scholarships, as now required in compliance with federal law, through the local high schools and their local scholarship committees.

  • The Women’s Fund, a new initiative, enabling women and girls with roots in Tipton County to unite their charitable giving. This will lead to grantmaking that creates a stronger, healthier, and more vibrant community where women are empowered to reach their full potential.

  • The United Community Fund, carrying on the valuable mission of the Tipton County Community Fund, following their corporate dissolution in 2007.

  • Volunteer Center. This project, in collaboration with all the organization that rely on volunteers for their operation, is at the dreaming stage. It is hoped it can assist all the organizations that depend on volunteers to make them work, including clubs, churches, schools, sports leagues, and other institutions, as well as the social service agencies. It would eventually conduct a “Leadership Tipton County” training program to help prepare people for membership on nonprofit boards of directors.

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What is a Community Fund?

An organized community program that makes annual appeals to the general public for funds that are usually not retained in an endowment but are instead used for the ongoing operational support of local agencies. Contributions received by the United Community Fund will be distributed in 2008 to the organizations that had a partnership with the former Tipton County Community Fund in 2007. Those agencies will also make plans for the future of collaborative fundraising. Some donors designated a preference for the allocation of their gift, and those designations will be fulfilled.  Back to Top

What other Funds does the Foundation include?

Donors may set up advised or designated funds where the Foundation administers them and provides a permanent stream for earnings to fulfill their charitable intent. There are also numerous scholarship funds handled in a similar way at the Foundation. Agency endowments exist to benefit designated organizations, and the annual proceeds are made available for use at their discretion (once the fund value has reached at least $10,000).

Field of Interest Funds have been set up for any donor to contribute to a cause he or she cares about without naming a particular organization. The Foundation makes grants to these as the needs arise. They include:

  • #305 City of Tipton Fireworks

  • #314 Disaster Recovery

  • #507 Schram Education Fund (Not Scholarships)

  • #544 Tri-Kappa Park Gazebo Maintenance

  • #551 American Legion Veterans Memorial

  • #560 Women’s Philanthropy

  • #561 Arts & Cultural Interests (Theater, Musical Performances, Exhibitions)

  • #562 John B. Findling Legacy (The “Findling Trust” for the Neediest Children)

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Does the Foundation control every charitable contribution and nonprofit organization in Tipton County?

No. There are several organizations incorporated in Tipton County that are also nonprofit charitable organizations, tax exempt and eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions under section 501(c)(3) and other sections of the Internal Revenue Code.

Most incorporated nonprofit organizations are exempt from paying taxes, but donors to those that are 501(c)(4) or higher designees are generally not eligible to deduct those gifts from their adjusted gross income. (Certain exceptions can be made for fire and rescue squads and veterans’ organizations.) While many individuals are not that concerned about deductibility, especially if they do not itemize on their tax returns, larger individual donors may want to consider this. Many corporations will not give except to 501(c)(3) charities.

There are new regulations for processing and acknowledging donated dollars, that are more time consuming and expensive for small nonprofits to comply with. There is an economy of scale, and the Foundation is happy to assist any charity, incorporated or not, with its own fundraising, to whatever extent that charity would like.

Almost all incorporated social service organizations in Tipton County receive grants, even annually, from the Foundation, amounting to a significant portion of their operating budgets.

The only control the Foundation exerts is required by federal law. It is that dollars that pass through its books must be used exclusively for charitable purposes. The recipient organization must report on the use of funds and return any that are not used for the intended purpose.

Donor Privacy Policy

The Tipton County Foundation does not sell, loan, or trade their donors' personal or contact information with anyone else, nor send mailings on behalf of individuals, causes, or organizations that do not have a fund established in the Foundation.

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How can I participate?

Whether your resources are great or small, and whatever your charitable intent, your local community foundation can help you support the causes you care about--now, and forever.

You can make a gift in memory of a departed loved one or in appreciation of a significant birthday, anniversary, graduation, wedding, or other occasion or achievement. Besides acknowledging the tax-deductible gift to the donor, the Foundation informs the bereaved family (or honoree in the case of tributes) that you have paid homage by making a lasting investment in the community- and the donor may specify whether the gift should be invested or what cause it should support.

Email the Foundation staff or call 765-675-8480 to arrange a visit to discuss how you can make a personally significant investment of time, talent, and treasure in the Tipton County Foundation, and encourage others to do the same. Back to Top

Another Question?Email TCF's President

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Last modified: Friday, August 18, 2017

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