Longtime QC philanthropists Hunt and Diane Harris recently moved from Moline to Naperville (outside Chicago) to be closer to their son and his family. But they made sure that their giving remains grounded in the Quad Cities, and that their legacy lives on after their lifetimes.

The Harrises converted their two existing private foundations into a donor-advised fund at the Quad Cities Community Foundation. With the support of the Community Foundation staff, Hunt and Diane will be able to use the newly established Harris Family Foundation Fund to enhance their giving, relieving them of administrative burdens associated with running private foundations and allowing them to focus on what matters most—their philanthropic goals, according to a Tuesday foundation release.

Hunt and Diane Harris

“With their deep history of giving, Hunt and Diane are philanthropic leaders in our community, and it’s an honor to partner with them in furthering their generosity,” said Anne Calder, the Community Foundation vice president of development. “This is a pivotal step in ensuring their legacy of generosity lives on forever.”

“A donor-advised fund is so much easier than all the steps you have to go through with maintaining a private foundation,” said Hunt. From staying on top of annual distribution, tax, legal, and reporting requirements to hiring investment advisors, private foundations come with logistical hurdles and extensive costs that can cut into their philanthropic purpose.

“With a donor-advised fund, all I have to do is log on, request the grant, and it’s processed,” he said, adding that the Community Foundation conducts due diligence on each grantee. “The system keeps a record of the organizations we’ve given to in the past, so we can go back and look up how much we gave and when.”

Converting their foundations to a donor-advised fund is also a way for the Harrises to access the Community Foundation’s unique expertise and keep them plugged into local needs and opportunities from afar.

Find out about the Quad Cities Community Foundation at qccommunityfoundation.org.

“We’ve seen people who are good givers in the community move away and take their giving with them,” said Hunt. “We wanted to maintain a large commitment to the Quad Cities area.” To support that commitment, he and Diane will rely on the Community Foundation’s broad knowledge of the region and its familiarity with the causes the couple cares about. “We’ll look for input from them on the needs we’re not aware of that we’d be interested in,” he said.

“I’m also confident that we’re getting the investment returns at the Community Foundation that we should, that it’s being monitored well, and that the costs are low,” added Hunt, who serves on the Community Foundation’s investment committee.

As part of the foundation conversion, they designated a percentage of their assets for charitable funds for their son, daughter-in-law, and daughter, who wanted to be involved with their family’s giving without inheriting the burden of running two private foundations.

After the couple’s lifetimes, the remainder of their fund will convert to a permanent fund that their children will advise on and from which their grandchildren will have the opportunity to also make grants.

“That helps keep them involved with the Community Foundation and gives them familiarity with the donor-advised fund methodology, so when we’re gone it’s easy for them to get involved,” Hunt said. And after the lifetimes of the family members, the Community Foundation has instructions from the couple for grants going forward to benefit the community as a whole through its grantmaking programs.

“Building the spirit of philanthropy in the family structure is an important thing,” he went on. “We’ve been extraordinarily blessed—not necessarily because of our own doing, but from our background, our education, and all the benefits we’ve been able to enjoy. With that wealth of blessings, we have a real responsibility to give back.”