Donor Advised Funds

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Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are one of the fastest growing mechanisms in philanthropy, passing $110 billion in assets by the start of 2018 at commercial funds (Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab) and at community foundations. In Minnesota alone there’s an estimated $1.16 billion in DAF assets at Minnesota-based sponsors. Minnesota’s fundraisers have a rich theoretical opportunity and face severe challenges to access these funds on behalf of their communities. 

In response, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits convened a Donor Advised Fund working group comprised of nonprofit fundraisers, community foundation staff, national sponsors of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs), and others. Download MCN’s one-page overview of DAFs.

The goals of the working group were to convene a broad range of perspectives and experience to engage in a productive conversation in order to:

  • promote a better public understanding of Donor Advised Funds,
  • address major issues confronting fundraisers and sponsors these funds, and
  • develop potential recommendations for best practices and reforms.

Potential Outputs included:

  • Resource guides for nonprofit fundraisers, program officers, and philanthropic wealth advisers
  • Workshops for major MCN conferences and nonprofit professional development opportunities
  • Concept papers, public letters, and articles

DAF Working Group Members:

  • Kari Aanestad, Director of Advancement, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Jack Abdo, CPA Nonprofit Business Partner, Abdo, Eick, & Meyers
  • Steve Anseth Nonprofit Group Leader Abdo, Eick, & Meyers
  • Lisa Barton, Gift Planner, The Saint Paul and Minnesota Community Foundations
  • Tim Beaton, Executive Director, Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation
  • Jay Bennett, Chairman of the Board, National Christian Foundation
  • Kim Borton, Director of Grants and Donor Services, InFaith Community Foundation
  • Sarah Caflisch, Gift Officer, Minnesota Literacy Council
  • Sarah Copeland, Director of Grants & Programs, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation
  • Fay DeBellis, Senior Institutional Consultant, Morgan Stanley
  • Stephanie Donley, Philanthropic Advisor, Minneapolis Foundation
  • Rachel Garaghty, Development Manager, ServeMinnesota
  • Yohannes Ghebru, Finance Manager, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Sue Grafstrom, Development Coordinator, LifeCare Medical Center
  • Kenza Hadj-Moussa, Communications Director, TakeAction MN
  • Ryan Heckman, Grassroots Gift Officer, Headwaters Foundation for Justice
  • Mark Hiemenz, Principal, Wiser Wolf
  • Dana Holt, JD AEPR, CEO and Philanthropic Strategist, Holt Consulting
  • Bob Hybben, Director of Program Operations, Butler Family Foundation
  • Mary Jones, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Goodwill-Easter Seals Foundation
  • Eric Joranson, Senior Director of Development, National Philanthropic Trust
  • Steve Joul, President and CEO, CommunityGiving
  • Nancy Kieling, Trustee, Grounds for Sculpture
  • Byron Laher, Vice President of External and Government Relations, CEAP
  • Sheryl Morrison, Attorney, Gray Plant Mooty
  • Katherine Mueller, Development Director, Damiano Center
  • Susan Murray, Regional Director, Twin Cities Tickets for Kids
  • Jennifer Nelson, Vice President, Development, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
  • Don Ness, Executive Director, Ordean Foundation
  • Thomas O’Neill, Director of Individual Major Gifts, Second Harvest Heartland
  • Enrique Olivarez Jr., Vice President of Development, Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES)
  • Dan Petegorsky, Director of Public Policy, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
  • Jon Pratt, Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Marie Ruzek, Vice President, Sr. Philanthropic Specialist Philanthropic Services, Wells Fargo Private Bank
  • Nonoko Sato, Associate Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Beth Schoeppler, Managing Director, The Loft Literary Center
  • Maryanne Simonitsch, Independent Consultant
  • Amanda Storm Schuster, Vice President of Advancement, Women’s Foundation
  • Judy Tambornino, Corporate Development Officer, Children’s Minnesota Foundation
  • Mala Thao, Philanthropic Advisor, The Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations
  • Bob Tracy, Director of Public Policy, Minnesota Council on Foundations
  • Megan Voronyak, Senior Resource Development Manager, Aeon
  • Nancy Zallek, President and CEO, Mankato Area Foundation
  • Anna Zaros, Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer, Center for Victims of Torture

Building on the working group’s recommendations for increased transparency, MCN recently published a report describing the need for an amendment to Minnesota’s Supervision of Charitable Trusts and Trustees Act which would require charitable trusts transferring funds to a donor advised fund (DAF) to include in their annual trust filing with the office of the attorney general an itemized list of all grants and contributions made or approved for future payment during the year from that DAF. Read the report.

For more information, please contact Kari Aanestad a or 651-757-3073.

Additional Resources: