Donor Advised Funds

Donor advised funds have been a part of the federal tax law of charity for nearly a century as a unique philanthropic tool. Because of the relatively small amount needed to start a DAF compared to assets needed to create a private foundation, DAFs serve as an opportunity for middle class Americans to pursue their philanthropy and to gain the benefit of the foundations’ expertise and experience in helping to guide their giving. Use these resources to learn more and gain valuable insight into managing and administering Donor Advised Funds.

These are a few examples of DAFs that are sparking tremendous change in their communities:

In-Depth knowledge on Donor Advised Funds

The Council created these communications tools to assist our members in sharing how donor advised funds are being used to impact their communities. The toolkit includes sample templates and other useful resources to share with local media and other stakeholders in your community.

In this paper, Kevin Murphy, President and CEO of the Berks County Community Foundation and the Council on Foundations’ first Foundation Leader in Residence, explores disruptions to the community foundation business model, the rationale of asset growth, and how changes in the local financial services field may force some fundamental changes on community foundations. Writing from his perspective, Kevin demonstrates that a new narrative is possible about growth and raises important questions regarding the business practices of community foundations.

This webinar explored a survey the Council on Foundations commissioned from the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy about donor advised funds to community foundations. The survey questions inform the Council, their membership, and the Community Foundation National Standards Board provide a full picture of donor advised funds and their importance to communities nationwide.

At a time when donor advised funds are growing in popularity and awarding many grants that support community programs, this research is designed to understand current practices, identify the extent of exemplary practices, and inform the community foundation field on their collective individual and collective use of this giving tool.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 includes the first comprehensive regulation of donor advised funds. These requirements generally took effect at the beginning of the tax year following enactment of the Act, for charities that hold assets in such funds. However, a provision barring the payment from donor advised funds of grants, compensation and similar payments to donors, advisors, and persons related to them took effect immediately on August 17, 2006. Understanding the definition of what is a donor advised fund also is important to the implementation of the Act’s charitable IRA rollover provision because rollovers are not permitted into donor advised funds.

In Notice 2007-21, the Treasury Department and IRS requested comments on issues relating to the organization and operation of donor advised funds and supporting organizations, to be included in a study of these organizations. The resulting report includes detailed discussion of the legal requirements for supporting organizations and donor advised funds, an analysis of available statistical information about DAFs and SOs, and more.