A donor-advised fund offers an easy way for a donor to make significant charitable gifts over a long period of time. A donor-advised fund is similar to a private foundation but requires less money, time, legal assistance, and administration to establish and maintain. A donor-advised fund also enjoys greater tax advantages than a private foundation.
What is a donor-advised fund?
Technically, a donor-advised fund is an agreement between a donor and a host organization (the fund) that gives the donor the right to advise the fund on how the donor's contributions will be invested and how grants to charities (grantees) will be made. Contributions may be tax deductible in the year they are paid to the fund, subject to the usual limitations, if they are structured so they aren't considered earmarked for a particular grantee. Though they can bear the donor's name, donor-advised funds are not operated as separate entities like private foundations are, but are merely accounts held by the fund. The fund owns the contributions and has ultimate control over grants.