Start a Donor-Advised Fund

What is a Donor-Advised Fund?

A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving vehicle administered by a third party, which manages charitable donations of behalf of an organization, family or individual.  A donor-advised fund is easy to establish, low cost, and a flexible alternative to direct giving or creating a private foundation.  When donors conduct their grantmaking through a DAF, they enjoy administrative convenience, immediate tax advantages and the expert resources of the third party group managing their charitable investments.

How does a Chicago Foundation for Women Donor-Advised Fund work?

A CFW donor-advised fund is established with an initial, minimum contribution of $5,000 which may be made in the form of cash, mutual funds, bonds and/or publicly traded securities.  Subsequent contributions may be made by the Donor or by any other person in any amount at any time.  Once established, the donor will be able to request that grants be distributed from their fund to organizations whose mission, vision and philosophy are consistent with the mission, vision and philosophy of Chicago Foundation for Women.  The minimum grant amount is $250, and you may direct as many or as few contributions as you wish annually.

Why contribute to a Donor-Advised Fund rather than directly to a charity?

Donor-Advised Funds provide a number of benefits that direct charitable donations do not, including:

  • A donor-advised fund allows for streamlined grantmaking and tax planning—you receive an immediate tax deduction when a contribution is made to your fund, but grants to charity can be made at any time—and CFW handles all of the paperwork.
  • You will have access to the Foundation’s extensive knowledge of charities that reflect your values and charitable aims—we can help you identify innovative, best-practice organizations where your dollar will go the farthest and be used most effectively
  • A donor-advised fund allows privacy if the donor desires it.  Public forms filed by donor-advised fund administrators don’t list individual accounts.  You can choose to name your fund after yourself, your family, in honor of another person, or not at all.
  • When you establish a donor-advised fund, you are not making a one-time gift—you are creating a legacy that can ultimately benefit multiple charities.
  • The careful, diversified investment of your contribution by Chicago Foundation for Women allows your contribution to potentially grow over time.

Have questions?  Interested in establishing your own donor-advised fund?  Contact Katy Thomas at 312.577.2836 or kthomas@cfw.org.