Donor-Advised Funds: What makes our Giving Fund distinct?
Data shows an increasing interest in Donor-Advised Funds. At The Generosity Trust, we have seen a constant increase in the number of new donors and in the overall amount of money being contributed to Donor-Advised Funds. Generous donors are using them like a checking account to take advantage of the immediate tax deduction, while taking time to decide the organizations they would like to support.
Not all Donor-Advised Funds are created equal. There are three important distinctions generous donors need to know that makes our Giving Fund different from other Donor-Advised Funds.
1. Fees. Most Donor-Advised Funds charge fees in order to fund the operating expenses of the financial institution providing them. For example, Fidelity Charitable reports on its website that it charges an annual fee the greater of 0.6% or $100. It is completely understandable that these providers need to fund their operations.
The Generosity Trust doesn’t charge any fees for our basic donor-advised fund. We can do this thanks to the generosity of Dora Maclellan Brown, whose trust continues to help fund our operations. That means that 100% of the funds you donate to your Giving Fund are available to be granted to your favorite ministry or charitable organization. The only time you will ever incur a fee is if you want the funds invested in the market for growth.
2. Mission. Why is it called a donor-advised fund? It is a very important description with legal implications. The moment you donate money, those funds are legally in the possession of the receiving organization like The Generosity Trust. As a result, you no longer retain legal control over them. Instead, you retain an “advisory” relationship to the funds that thrives on trust – the trust you place in your relationship with the receiving organization.
Not every organization who sponsors Donor-Advised Funds is bound to honor the donor’s request, and some place restrictions on requests. For example, one of the nation’s largest Donor-Advised Funds, according to a report, recently blocked grants to Christian organizations that did not adhere to current policies on social issues. The trend of blocking grants could spread to more Christian ministries and churches.
The Generosity Trust is unashamedly Christian in its mission, which is theologically conservative. As a result, we readily make grants to local churches, Christian ministries, and other worthy causes. Our primary purpose has always been to provide Donor-Advised Funds for generous donors – all across the country – to assist them in honoring the Lord with what He has entrusted to them.
3. Leadership. Because of the previous point, it is important to know who is leading the sponsoring organization of your donor-advised fund, as the sponsors set policies and make decisions about restricting grants. For example, a quick look at the board composition of the nation’s largest Donor-Advised Funds includes many leaders whose background is in corporate finance. As cultural priorities change, it is difficult to predict how these leaders will shift their policies.
At The Generosity Trust, our leadership includes distinguished business and community leaders who all possess a vibrant personal faith and are actively involved in an evangelical church. They help steward the mission that began with Aunt Dora over 50 years ago. Donors have assurance that their funds will continue to be directed to ministries and organizations they trust for years to come.
You can open a Giving Fund online or learn more about Donor-Advised Funds by exploring our frequently asked questions. You can even transfer the funds from an existing donor-advised fund with another sponsoring organization to The Generosity Trust by contacting us. Our goal is to magnify the joyful generosity of Christians and as they give to the organizations that care about most.