donor advised fund

What is a Donor Advised Fund?

With a donor advised fund, you make tax-deductible charitable contributions immediately, without having to identify nonprofit beneficiaries right away. Instead, your gifts are invested, based on your preferences, so that they may grow. Once ready, you can recommend grants from your fund to your desired, eligible nonprofits.

You can think about a donor advised fund (DAF) as an investment account for organizing your personal charitable giving.

Donor Advised Funds Make Giving Easy

Instead of writing lots of checks to multiple individual nonprofits, you can make one or more larger contributions to your DAF. Then decide on the nonprofits you want to support.

The difference between using your personal checking account for giving and a donor advised fund is that contributions to a DAF are irrevocable gifts to public charity. 

Based on your recommendations, grants are approved by The Foundation's Board of Directors and sent to qualifying nonprofits in the name of your fund (or anonymously if you choose).  Funds are often named for families or individuals (e.g., the Smith Family Fund or the Jane Smith Memorial Fund) or for other positive associations (e.g., the Elm Fund).

How a Donor Advised Fund Works

Establish a fund

Contribute to your fund and be eligible for a tax deduction for the current year.

Grow your fund balance

While you decide on which nonprofits to support, your contributions are invested, and all growth is tax free.

Support nonprofits

When you’re ready, support your favorite nonprofit or find a new cause. We do all the paperwork.

Why a Donor Advised Fund?

  • Simplicity in managing charitable giving
  • Tax benefits today, increased impact tomorrow
  • The ability to be an anonymous donor when you choose

Download a chart that compares the major differences between donor advised funds, supporting organizations and private foundations. Depending on your interests and needs, this chart can help assist you in determining the most appropriate charitable giving vehicle. (Source: National Philanthropic Trust)

Why The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven?

  • Personal service to meet your goals and build your giving plan
  • In-depth information on the nonprofit sector in our region
  • Special Briefings on the critical issues facing our community
  • A network of people dedicated to strengthening Greater New Haven

Since 1928, The Community Foundation has been Greater New Haven’s leader in charitable solutions, helping donors like you support their favorite causes in smart ways. With personalized service and expertise in handling donations from a wide range of assets, we have your needs covered.

Join with the many philanthropists in our community seeking to make their giving simpler and more effective.

Making an Impact: How DAFs Work



Ready to get started? 

Set up your fund now


The Stone Family

Read The Stone Family Story

Keeping the Family Tradition of Philanthropy Alive.

She knew she wanted to create a way to give in her husband's memory for eternity. She and her children talked about starting a family foundation, but were deterred by the level of work and legal organization needed.

Enter The Community Foundation. 




Helen Jones

Read Helen's Story

Give now for generations to come, like Helen Jones.

When Helen Jones began working at Strouse, Adler Corset Manufacturer in New Haven, she was tasked with promoting the Smoothie line (so named for its elastic and smooth finish) — a stark contrast to its predecessor line of boned corsets.

Helen believed very positively in the American Dream and in doing what was necessary to build a strong foundation for a successful life. You could see this in her support for programs for the homeless and refugees. She was also a strong proponent for educating young women in business.

During her lifetime, Helen established a donor advised fund to honor her father Daniel. She remained active in making grants from that fund until her death at age 95, when the fund became a designated fund to help the homeless per her wishes. Helen established a second fund through her estate to meet housing, food, medical and social needs in our community. 


70 Audubon Street
New Haven, CT 06510



Sign Up for E-news