Donor Advised Funds

A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) offers a way to obtain immediate and substantial tax benefits, support vital community programs, and make a meaningful impact with your charitable dollars.

A DAF is a simple and low-cost philanthropic vehicle that allows you to set aside charitable dollars in a tax-efficient way for grantmaking now or in the future. The fund generally bears the name of the donor or another individual selected by the donor. You may recommend grants to a full range of charitable organizations in the Jewish and general communities.

The Federation inaugurated its DAF program in 1976 with two funds. Today, the program has grown substantially, with nearly 900 DAFs, with a combined value of $500 million. Since the program's inception, donors have granted more than a billion dollars to over 7,000 local and global charities.  

"DAFs are the fastest growing charitable giving vehicle in the country."

- The National Philanthropic Trust


  • Easy to start
  • $5,000 minimum gift
  • Additions can be made at any time
  • Optimal tax advantages
  • Charitable giving centralized in a single fund
  • Grants are made to a full range of approved public charities
  • Simple record-keeping
  • May be named for a donor or a loved one
  • Variety of investment options
  • Professional assistance in grantmaking available
  • The Federation's Donor Portal: view fund balances and make grant recommendations via the Internet

Assets to put into your Donor Advised Fund*

  • Cash
  • Appreciated stocks and bonds
  • Israel bonds
  • Closely held businesses
  • Real estate

*While this is not an exhaustive list, we look forward to working with you to see if we are able to accept the assets that you wish to contribute to your fund. 

Benefits of a DAF include:

Simple to start and manage

  • Opening a DAF is easy – no setup costs, only one form to sign, and a minimum contribution of $5,000 (cash, stock, or other assets).
  • All grantmaking and administrative tasks are managed by the Federation’s staff.


  • Tax benefits are received immediately upon making a contribution to your fund. DAFs do not require tax return filing.
  • No capital gains tax when you contribute appreciated assets, and there is no tax on earnings in the fund.
  • Receive the maximum tax deduction for cash contributions to the fund and for gifts of qualified appreciated assets held more than one year.
  • Naming the fund as the beneficiary of your will, trust, or retirement plan may result in substantial tax savings.
  • For individuals facing large capital gains because of a stock buyout, or whose stock portfolios include highly appreciated equities, contributing stocks to create a DAF will avoid capital gains tax on the contributed stocks.

Online access – 24 hours a day

  • Recommend a grant at any time and review past grants.
  • View quarterly statements and investment returns.
  • Select from a growing list of qualified nonprofit grantees.


  • No annual minimum distribution required; nor is there a requirement to make grants by year-end.
  • Give a meaningful name to your fund, either in your own name, for a loved one, or a term of significance for you.
  • Make grants anonymously, on an as-needed basis.

Expert staff

  • Every fund is professionally managed, receiving assistance from knowledgeable advisors with broad expertise, including: strategic grantmaking, Jewish community needs, and multi-generational family philanthropy.
  • Exclusive access to ongoing philanthropic education featuring local and global thought leaders through DAF holder-only programs such as seminars, webinars, and events.
  • Our staff bring a broad array of skills to our client work including certifications in 21/64 training (generational awareness and technical tools working with next generation funders and families) and the Wexner Program (advanced Jewish leadership and public management training).

Investment options

  • You have a variety of investment options to help you achieve your investment strategy.
  • Investment gains accrued to your fund are non-taxable and allow you to increase your charitable impact.
  • Your investment is managed by best-in-class experts, the same professionals who govern the Federation’s Endowment Fund.

Make an impact through the Jewish community

  • Whether you support Jewish or secular causes, all grants are made in the name of the Jewish community.

Establish your family legacy

  • You have the ability to pass the fund to future generations, making a gift that will endure the test of time.
  • Become a Living Legacy Society member by committing a legacy gift through your DAF.

Review and inform

  • Meet with one of our philanthropic advisors to discuss your charitable goals. Annually review your giving history and evaluate whether you are reaching your philanthropic objectives.
  • Make contributions at any time to build your fund.
  • Be kept informed about changing tax laws that affect your charitable giving.
  • For people who want to give but aren't sure what charities to support, Federation advisors can identify areas of urgent need or new opportunities for funding in the community that are in alignment with your particular philanthropic interests.
  • For individuals facing large capital gains because of a stock buyout, or whose stock portfolios have become too heavy in equities, contributing stocks to create a Donor Advised Fund will avoid capital gains tax on the contributed stocks.

Questions? Contact us or view our Frequently asked questions about Donor Advised Funds.

Documents for DAFs:

All forms are in PDF format (requires free Acrobat Reader)

For more information, please contact:
Ruth Bender
Director of Philanthropic Funds