Frequently Asked Questions About the Urbana Parks Foundation
Q. What is the Urbana Parks Foundation?
A. The Urbana Parks Foundation (UPF) is an independent, all-volunteer, fundraising support organization for the Urbana Park District. It is a 501c(3) organization and contributions to it are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Q. Where can I get more information about the UPF?
A. You can find out more about the UPF from its web site, by contacting any member of its Board of Trustees, or by contacting Ellen Kirsanoff, Development Manager of the Urbana Park District by phone at (217) 367-1536 or by email at erkirsanoff@UrbanaParks.Org.
Q. I already pay taxes to the Urbana Park District; why should I make an additional contribution to the UPF?
A. Tax funds provide basic support for all that the Urbana Park District does, from maintaining Urbana’s wonderful parks and facilities to providing programs for residents and visitors. Tax dollars are used to ensure adequate parks and programs for all of Urbana. Private gifts supplement tax dollars and can be used for special enhancements or improvements for individual parks or programs. Additional support is necessary for acquisition of land for new parks, for developing new parks, for enhancing existing parks with new facilities, and for supplementing programs sponsored by the park district. Contributions to the UPF help provide this support.
Q. What will be done with my money if I donate to the UPF?
A. That depends entirely on you. If you specify how the money is to be used, then it will be used for the purpose you specify, whatever that may be, when the park district requests it. If you give money without indicating a specific purpose for it, the UPF may use part of it to add to an endowment for the benefit of the Urbana Park District, may transfer part of it to the park district when the district requests it, or may use part of it to help solicit additional donations.
Q. Why should I contribute to the UPF rather than directly to the Urbana Park District?
A. You may contribute directly to the Urbana Park District if you prefer. Those who wish to contribute to a current, ongoing park district need may find this preferable. Contributing to the UPF, on the other hand, may be better for those who wish to contribute to aid a long-term need, because the UPF is better able to invest money donated to it and hence allow it to grow before transferring it to the Urbana Park District. Furthermore, the UPF is able to receive donations of land, securities, and in-kind gifts without the restrictions that legally constrain the park district.
Q. Do I have to live in Urbana to contribute to the UPF?
A. Not at all. Many who regularly enjoy Urbana’s parks live outside the City of Urbana. In fact, more than 50% of all participants in programs of the Urbana Park District in 2015 were not residents of Urbana, so making a contribution to the Foundation is a wonderful way for those outside Urbana to help enhance the parks they enjoy.
Q. Can I contribute property, stocks or bonds, or other items to the UPF, and if so, how do I do so?
A. Yes, the UPF can accept any type of asset that has value. One of the advantages of contributing to the UPF is that the foundation can accept and manage or sell valuable property in ways that the Urbana Park District is not allowed to do. If you wish to make a non-cash contribution, please contact Ellen Kirsanoff by phone at (217) 367-1536 or by email at erkirsanoff@UrbanaParks.Org to discuss your proposed gift. You may also wish to talk with your tax advisor if you plan to make this kind of gift.
Q. Are contributions to the UPF tax deductible?
A. The UPF is organized as a charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code and gifts to the UPF are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. You should consult with your accountant or tax attorney to see what deductions are allowed in your particular circumstances.
Q. Can I make the UPF a beneficiary in my estate plans and if so, how do I do that?
A. Yes, you can. Individuals who notify the foundation that they have set up a bequest to the UPF are automatically enrolled in the UPF Blair Society. Contact Ellen Kirsanoff either by phone at (217) 367-1536 or by email at erkirsanoff@UrbanaParks.Org to ask for a brochure about the Blair Society and to obtain more information. The UPF will work with your attorney to ensure that you have the proper language in your will.
Q. When I make a contribution, I prefer that my name not be made public. Is this possible?
A. Yes. The UPF will normally acknowledge its donors publicly to honor them for their contributions, but if you wish to remain anonymous that can be arranged.
Q. How does the UPF pay for its expenses?
A. The UPF pays for its expenses from unrestricted contributions that it receives from individuals and businesses.
Q. What kinds of expenses does UPF have to pay for?
A. The UPF inevitably incurs expenses in its fundraising efforts. These include printing costs, costs of developing and maintaining its web site, licensing costs for software used to keep track of donations, costs for fundraising events, and the like.
Q. What percentage of the contributions it receives does the UPF use to pay for its expenses?
A. In 2015, the UPF only used about 10% of all its revenue to pay for expenses. All the rest has been transferred to the Urbana Park District or is being held to grow on behalf of the park district for later distribution.
Q. How long does the UPF hold contributions for the Urbana Park District?
A. The UPF holds assets for the Urbana Park District until the park district requests them or until a time specified in a gift agreement.