Samantha’s Plan: Using Donor Advised Funds to Effect Systemic Change By Cameo C. Anders, JD, MA

Samantha (our modern day Good Samaritan from the previous article) had several ministries she wanted to support. She cared deeply about the hungry and forlorn children. She was greatly appreciative of the emergency medical services that responded quickly to her 911 call. She wanted to find a way to renovate the dilapidated neighborhood church, to improve the conditions of the school playground, and to provide a safe place for homeless people to go for food, shelter, friendship, and drug detox if needed. Samantha was also a private person, busy with her own life and family. She wanted a safe and secure way to make a difference, without being the visible face behind her efforts.
Samantha needed a community foundation that sponsored Donor Advised Funds (DAF). Samantha was also Catholic and wanted to be sure that whichever charitable organization she chose was not investing in a portfolio that was inconsistent with Catholic teaching. The Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota (CCFESD) sponsors DAFs and invests in accord with Catholic Social Teaching and the USCCB guidelines. A Donor Advised Fund is a fund that allows a donor to make a charitable contribution today, and advise on its distribution tomorrow.

For several reasons, a donor may want to establish a DAF:

  •  If a donor has several ministries she wishes to give to: homeless shelter, parish, school, etc., she can give to the DAF once and CCFESD will distribute to each of the ministries in a safe and secure way.
  •  If a donor would like to make a charitable contribution before year-end but hasn’t yet decided upon the ministries to support, they can receive a tax deduction for contributing to the DAF before year-end, and then take time to discern the ministries, he wants to support.
  • If donors are high-income tax-payers who are concerned about their phase out of itemized deductions and their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitations, but like to contribute annually to their ministries, they may benefit from making larger contributions to their DAF in a given year. This would allow them to distribute annually to their charity and to maximize their charitable deduction.

CCFESD is available to answer your questions by phone, email, or in person. Please contact us today to learn more about DAFs and how we can help you develop your plan to make a practical commitment of love to your neighbor.