Donor Advised Funds

Donor advised funds have been a part of the federal tax law of charity for nearly a century, yet only recently has it become the subject of considerable scrutiny and criticism. The following resources are intended to help members navigate the complexity of rules applicable to donor advised funds.

In-Depth knowledge on Donor Advised Funds

Gifts from private foundations to field of interest funds, designated funds, and other funds that are not donor advised, are entirely permissible and do not raise special concerns. Gifts to a donor-advised fund can raise red flags as a potential donor control issue.

For international grants, the Pension Protection Act requires donor-advised funds to comply with certain rules imposed on private foundations. Sponsoring organizations administering international grants from advised funds have adopted various practices to comply with the new requirements. This article discusses these changes, along with a brief description of the new rules.

The Council on Foundations, in conjunction with the Community Foundations Leadership Team, conducted a web-based survey of community foundations in late June through August 2008. The survey aimed to obtain comprehensive information on: the amount of assets held in donor advised funds; the range of sizes of individual donor advised funds; the amount spent from these funds; and the areas these funds supported in 2007. This report presents a detailed look at the donor advised funds held in 2007 by 137 community foundations that answered the survey. Together, the responding organizations hold half of all community foundation assets.