► What is the Lawton Community Foundation?
The Lawton Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and is a public charity that operates under the IRS code as a 509(a)(3) supporting organization. Under this structure, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation provides all of the administrative and investment services for the Lawton Community Foundation.

Established in 1999 to support the current and future charitable interests of the Lawton community and surrounding areas, the Lawton Community Foundation was founded through initial funding from the community-owned Lawton Retail Merchants Association. This was the first “community fund” established at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and the unique endowment structure ensures that Lawton’s cultural, artistic, educational and charitable work will have a lasting source of funding that will benefit generations yet to come. The Lawton Community Foundation gives back to the community through community grants, a scholarship program and working with nonprofit organizations to create charitable endowments.

► What is a community foundation?
For some, the word “foundation” implies a fund whose assets come from one single source such as a wealthy family or major corporation and whose charitable purpose is strictly defined by a few people. This is true of many private foundations. On the other hand, a community foundation is a collection of charitable funds established by local donors – some wealthy but just as many not – who have desire to help their community.

Community foundations are 501(c)(3) public charities. Federal law provides tax benefits to 501(c)(3) organizations recognized as exempt from federal income tax and able to accept tax exempt charitable contributions. The most common type of 501(c)(3) organizations are educational, religious and charitable (community foundations). Community foundations accept gifts from a wide range of donors while private foundations have a very limited source of revenue. The Lawton Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and is considered a supporting organization which falls under the 509(a)(3) federal tax code. According to the IRS, “A supporting organization is a charity that carries out its exempt purposes by supporting other exempt organizations, usually other public charities.” For more information on tax exempt organizations, visit the IRS web site at www.irs.gov.

► How is the Lawton Community Foundation Governed?
The Lawton Community Foundation is governed by a nine-member Board of Trustees. Each trustee is nominated for a three-year term and may serve for a total of three terms. No fewer than four trustees shall be residents of Lawton, which are elected by members of the board and five shall be elected by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.  All powers are vested in the board.

Board of Trustees
Scott Hatch – President (as of Oct. 1, 2014)
Lee Baxter
Janice Bell
George Bridges
Preston Holsinger
Carroll Rogers
John McArthur
Hossein Moini
Nancy B. Anthony, Secretary & Treasurer
Gene Love, Trustee Emeritus

The Founding Trustees
John Barnes
Mollie Brady
Virginia Brewczynski
Kenneth Easton
Gilbert Gibson
Betty Raulston

► Why do donors choose to establish funds at the Lawton Community Foundation versus giving directly to the charity?
Many individuals want their charitable gifts to benefit an organization for perpetuity. Our permanence, proven investment management and administration of funds ensures donors that their gifts will be directed as they wished. The Lawton Community Foundation adheres to the investment policy of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and benefits from the performance of its pooled investments.
► Can you work with my attorney, CPA and/or financial advisor?
Yes, we work with professional advisors and their clients to find the right charitable giving options. See Professional Advisors for more information.
► Can I make a gift to the Lawton Community Foundation and retain income for myself or loved ones?
We offer several options that allow a donor to make a gift and receive income either for themselves or designated beneficiaries. For details, please see How & What to Give.
► How does an advised fund at the Lawton Community Foundation differ from commercial charitable gift funds?
Both types of funds share similarities in that a gift is made to establish the fund and the donor receives a tax advantage. The added benefit of creating an advised fund at the Lawton Community Foundation includes a staff that will work with a donor to ensure their fund is meeting their charitable goals. The mission of the Lawton Community Foundation is to support the charitable interests of our community and surrounding area, both now and for perpetuity.
► Can I recommend grant to charities outside Lawton or the state of Oklahoma?
Yes, as long as the organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in good standing with the IRS and is headquartered in the United States.
► Are all funds permanent?
The majority of funds we offer are permanent endowments with the exception of two advised funds: Express Funds and Gift Funds.
► What do you mean by perpetuity?
Perpetuity is forever. If you establish a fund to benefit a specific organization, we will continue to make grants to that organization as long as it exists. A variance power ensures that if the organization were to cease to exist, the grants would be directed to a similar organization or project.
► What is your variance power?
In accepting a contribution to any fund, the Trustees of the Lawton Community Foundation commit to the donor that the contribution will be protected for the charitable purpose originally intended. Funds received by the Lawton Community Foundation are subject to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s Variance Power, described by U.S. Treasury Regulations as the power of the governing board to modify any donor restrictions as to distributions if they determine them to become unnecessary, incapable of fulfillment, or inconsistent with the charitable needs of the community.

This assures donors that if the charitable purpose of their contribution becomes impractical or impossible, the distributions will be directed to similar purposes in the community.

► Do I have to give cash to start a fund?
We are able to facilitate a variety of non-cash assets. For more information, please see How & What to Give.
► Is it safe to make a donation online?
For your protection, all credit card transactions are processed through a secure server and your credit card information is never stored or saved. Once you submit your information, an electronic receipt will be sent to the email address you provided on the form. You may make a gift at your convenience for any amount you choose of $25 or more and the full amount of your gift is tax deductible!
Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to Lawton-area charitable organizations!
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