Donor Advised Funds

A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a charitable giving account created by an individual, family or organization. It offers an immediate tax benefit and allows you to make grants over time to your favorite nonprofit organizations. A DAF is an attractive and economical alternative to a private foundation.

Learn more about our other giving vehicles.


When you open a Donor Advised Fund at the Boston Foundation, you’ll be matched with a dedicated Donor Services advisor to discuss your giving goals, help you identify and evaluate nonprofit organizations and programs, connect you with other fund holders who share your philanthropic interests, create a plan that involves your family in your grant making, and consider the future of your fund. With the added resources of The Philanthropic Initiative, we can help you define a focus for your giving, create a mission statement or build a grants management program.

You also will be invited to participate in the full life of the Boston Foundation, from private events and networking opportunities to our research presentations and forums.

Download the Donor Handbook.

Contact Donor Services Officer Loren Van Allen to learn more about the benefits of establishing a donor advised fund.


Establishing a Donor Advised Fund at the Boston Foundation is quick and easy. You may download and print a fund agreement. Our Donor Services staff is also happy to help. Please call the Office of Development and Donor Services at 617-338-1700 or e-mail any questions you might have.

You establish a fund at the Boston Foundation with a minimum gift of $10,000, which is tax deductible, and then use it to make grants when and as you wish. You may recommend grants to any qualified 501(c)(3) public charity or operating foundation in the United States and to international organizations with the same status, subject to the Foundation’s standard due-diligence procedure. There is no minimum yearly grant requirement.

You can add to or replenish your funds at any time, with no minimum requirement for additional contributions. We accept most types of gifts, including cash, publicly traded and restricted stock, IRAs, whole life insurance policies, real estate and other non-cash assets including limited partnerships, C-Corp and S-Corp stock, and tangible personal property. When you transfer non-cash assets to a Donor Advised Fund properly, they can be gifted without incurring capital gains taxes, allowing 100 percent of the proceeds to be given to charity. You may name your children or other family members as successors to a donor advised fund through a simple succession plan form.

Why a Boston Foundation DAF?

The Foundation was founded in 1915 for one purpose: To receive gifts from generous donors and to use those resources to make grants to the nonprofit organizations meeting the needs of Boston-area residents every day.

The Boston Foundation compares very favorably with commercial gift funds; we urge you to compare advantages. We offer three investment options for your funds, with investment strategies aligned with the anticipated time frame of the fund, as well as access to established SRI indexes. The fees we charge for administering Donor Advised Funds go directly to our operating budget, not to a for-profit bottom line. Boston Foundation DAF holders are therefore helping to fund independent research into the region’s most pressing issues, supporting our special initiatives and civic leadership activities and enabling free public resources such as the Giving Common.

As noted, as an advisor to a Donor Advised Fund, you are invited to participate fully in the Boston Foundation, and, with a dedicated Donor Services liaison as your guide, you will have access to a range of expertise and strategic advice. Our knowledgeable staff can connect you with charities close to home and far away—lending expertise on a wide range of issues and helping you measure the real impact of your giving.

Through the Permanent Fund for Boston, the Boston Foundation makes millions of dollars in grants each year to Greater Boston nonprofits, giving us unparalleled in-depth knowledge of the organizations working every day to address the region’s most pressing challenges. Donors are encouraged to attend Foundation-sponsored events, educational programs and other opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of important problems and the strategies being employed to solve them.