Community Foundation donor-advised fund widens accessibility

Quad Cities Community Foundation student scholarships

As part of the Quad Cities Community Foundation’s push to make charitable giving easier for all Quad Citians, its board of directors recently lowered the threshold from $10,000 to $1,000 for opening a donor-advised fund (DAF).

“The new policy directly supports an initiative at the community foundation to make philanthropy more accessible,” Sue Hafkemeyer, the foundation’s president and CEO, said in a recent newsletter. “We are determined to help a wider portion of our community embrace and exercise their generosity. This change is one step toward that goal.”

Sue Hafkemeyer, Quad Cities Community Foundation
Sue Hafkemeyer is president of the Quad Cities Community Foundation. CREDIT: QUAD CITIES COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

What are DAFs? “As the name implies, (DAFs) are a giving tool housed at an organization like a community foundation with charitable grants directed by the donors who fund them,” Ms. Hafkemeyer said. The highly flexible funds can be used by individuals, families and companies, and they offer direct tax advantages which have helped make those funds extremely popular with donors and financial institutions.

 “Seeing firsthand how valuable DAFs are, both to donors and the organizations they support, the Quad Cities Community Foundation decided this giving option needed to be available to more people,” she said. 

To illustrate their impact, she shared the story of a donor who, following her retirement, structured her DAF so that her two adult children would be able to make decisions on how her philanthropic dollars would be granted. 

DAFs bring people together

“The siblings had busy lives, but once a year, they would connect, discuss the best use of the fund, and decide what nonprofits they would support. The donor credited the DAF with helping to keep her children close in their adult years,” Ms. Hafkemeyer wrote.

“The story still moves me. It speaks to the power that generosity has to bring us together,” she added.

Originally, DAFs were created by community foundations and later by large corporate banks.  What makes community foundation DAFs different from their banking counterparts, she said, is the local commitment, donor guidance, and community connection. That allows donors to donate their money in the most impactful ways.

Since earlier this summer, she said the QC Community Foundation has been making a concerted effort to expand philanthropy, engage more people in giving back to the community, and enlist young people in giving now and in the future. Making DAFs more accessible to a wide range of donors directly supports this effort.

Those interested in learning more about DAFs and whether they’re right for them can reach out to Ms. Hafkemeyer or Anne Calder, the Community Foundation’s vice president of development.

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