Donor Advised Funds

How do donor advised funds work?

With a DAF, charitably inclined individuals, families, and businesses make an irrevocable gift to an organization that sponsors a DAF program (e.g., Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab, or a local community foundation), and may take an immediate tax deduction. Donors can then recommend grants over time to IRS-qualified 501(c)(3) public charities, like Mount Holyoke College. DAFs also allow donors to approach their charitable giving thoughtfully by involving other family members or colleagues in their philanthropic decisions. Most DAFs accept donations of long-term appreciated securities and other assets, and donors can advise how the funds are invested; this could potentially allow tax-free growth, which could result in more money for your charity.

Important Steps

  • Establish a DAF through an investment advisor or broker or a local community foundation. Take an immediate tax-deduction.
  • Fund your DAF with almost any type of asset, including cash and/or securities, interests in closely held businesses, mineral rights, and more. Then, choose an investment program (investment growth is typically tax-free). You can make additional transfers to your DAF at any time.
  • Recommend grants from your DAF to Mount Holyoke College. If you choose Fidelity Investments or Charles Schwab as your DAF sponsor, visit the DAF direct link to recommend a grant. Otherwise, contact your DAF sponsor to initiate a grant to Mount Holyoke.

What are the advantages of a donor advised fund?

  • Simplicity—the DAF sponsor handles all record keeping, disbursements, and tax receipts.
  • Tax-efficiency—contributions you make to your DAF are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by federal law (consult your tax advisor for your specific situation) and any investment growth in the DAF is typically tax-free.
  • Family legacy—a DAF is a powerful way to build or continue a tradition of family philanthropy.
  • Low costs—a DAF normally has low or no startup costs or transaction fees.
  • All gifts from your DAF count toward alum participation and go directly to support the mission of Mount Holyoke College.

Contact Anne Vittoria FP'05, Director of Gift Planning at (413) 538-2754 for assistance.

When you initiate a gift from your DAF to Mount Holyoke College, you can choose to be recognized or remain anonymous. Please note that anonymous DAF gifts cannot be credited toward class giving or alum participation totals. If you wish for your gift to be counted in either of these ways, please contact Maura Campbell and let her know you have made a gift through a DAF. You may still remain anonymous on all published donor lists.