Donor Advised Funds Make Giving Easy

A donor advised fund (DAF) enables you to 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.

Your Charitable Giving Account

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

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.

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.

Getting Started

The first step to establishing your donor advised fund is to complete an application. This can be done online, in person or through the mail. Establishing a DAF can start with a $10,000 tax-deductible gift.*

Your gifts may take any number of forms, including:

  • Cash and credit card gifts
  • Securities: publicly traded securities, mutual fund shares, restricted securities and closely-held or founders stock. Download our stock transfer instructions.
  • Property and Other Assets: Real estate, art, antiques, collectibles and other tangible personal property are accepted on a case-by-case basis. The Community Foundation’s knowledgeable team of philanthropic advisors can assist you with your preferred giving options.

Once your fund is established, you may:

  • Recommend how these funds are granted to your favorite causes
  • Select investment options that best support your goals and plan

* to meet the $10,000 minimum, contributions may be made over a period of time, typically 3-5 years per written agreement

Choose your Investment Option

You have the opportunity to invest in three different investment vehicles that provide you the flexibility to meet your charitable giving objectives.


With the Cash option, your donor advised fund is held in cash or cash equivalent to preserve capital without risk or appreciation, and is readily available for grantmaking at all times.

Intermediate Fund

The Intermediate Fund is a diversified portfolio of liquid assets to provide you the opportunity for some appreciation with moderate risk. Assets are readily available for grantmaking at all times.

Perpetual Fund

The Perpetual Fund seeks to preserve the real economic spending power of your donor advised fund over time. To meet this objective, only a percentage (%) of your fund's market value is available to recommend for grantmaking each year.

A minimum of of $10,000 is required to establish a DAF. You may invest in any combination of these vehicles.

If you are looking to retain the services of your personal financial advisor, a customized program is available for funds of $100,000 or more.*

For more information, please call 203-777-7071 or email

*An amount above the Spending Rule rate may be requested twice per year (by October 1st or March 31st) of up to 25% of fund’s then market value.

What are the Costs?

The work of The Community Foundation is supported, in part, by a fee assessed on the funds entrusted to its care. An annual fee, currently one percent of the value of your donor advised fund, is calculated on June 30th.

Investment management fees based on your selected investment options are also applied. The average of 0.75% is currently used for the Perpetual Fund option. All fees are deducted from the donor advised fund assets.

How Much Can Be Granted?

The minimum grant per organization is just $250, and you can support as many nonprofits as you’d like. If you are invested in the Cash or Intermediate Fund options, you may recommend that any portion or all of your DAF balance be gifted. If your DAF fund is invested using the Perpetual Fund option, the amount available for recommending grants is determined annually and shared with you through a secure online, fund advisor portal.

Are All My Favorite Nonprofits Eligible?

All nonprofits qualified as 501(c)(3) organizations under the IRS code and in good standing are eligible to receive grants from donor advised funds.

To find out the status of your favorite local nonprofits, visit®. Interested in the status of other nonprofits? Visit Guidestar

Will the Nonprofit Know the Gifts are from Me?

You may choose with each grant recommendation whether to be acknowledged or remain anonymous.

What Reports Will I Receive?

When you use a donor advised fund to carry out your charitable giving, all of your charitable activity is viewable online for review and analysis, year over year.

Do you want to open a Donor Advised Fund today?

Let's Get Started

How Can We Help?

Sharon Cappetta, CAP®

Director of Development


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Liana Garcia, MS, PMP, CAP®

Director of Gift Planning


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