Donor Advised Funds Step Up

TBF News Spring 2020

In addition to its own grant making and civic leadership, the Boston Foundation supports hundreds of individuals and families who use its Donor Advised Fund (DAF) program to conduct their own philanthropy. There are close to 700 DAFs at the Foundation and the Foundation’s DAF holders are very active philanthropists. Their response to the coronavirus crisis is a case in point.


Change in donor-advised fund grants to charities: March-April 2020 vs 2019

Since early March, Boston Foundation DAFs have committed close to $10 million in grants to nonprofits serving those affected by the crisis in Greater Boston, across the country and around the world. Some of those grants went to the Boston Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund (totaling $1.4 million), which was the first major fund to be launched by a Boston area charity. The Foundation started sending out grants within two weeks of the Fund’s launch.

Another $4.9 million went directly to nonprofits helping those most vulnerable to the effects of the crisis. A number of DAF holders regularly support the Greater Boston Food Bank, Pine Street Inn, Boston Health Care for the Homeless and other nonprofits that are on the front lines, housing, feeding and caring for those disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and its rippling effects.

“While a number of financial institutions and even large nonprofits offer Donor Advised Funds,” says Kate Guedj, Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, “The Boston Foundation offers the advantage of deep knowledge about the nonprofit sector, and can advise DAF holders about how to make their philanthropy effective and relevant to the times.”

The Waldron Charitable Fund Mobilizes Quickly to Help Children

In March, the Waldron Charitable Fund, a DAF co-managed by Rob and Jennifer Waldron, began distributing $1 million in rapid response grants to meet the needs of children impacted by school closings due to the COVID-19 crisis. Rob Waldron is CEO of Curriculum Associates, an education technology company that provides more than 10 million K-12 students nationwide with personalized learning materials to prepare them for success. Jennifer Waldron works with uAspire, a nonprofit organization removing financial barriers to higher education that was launched with the support of the Boston Foundation.

“I am deeply concerned about the sudden loss of essential services for our nation’s children due to school closures,” said Rob Waldron. “Having served schools across the country for decades, I know these institutions provide so much more than academics. My family and I feel an acute responsibility to do everything we can, as quickly as we can, to help communities in need, and we hope other funders will join us.”