Now is time to open a Donor Advised Fund

By Michael Morse, Executive Director, Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida

Special to the Florida Catholic

Donor Advised Funds, or DAFs, have been in the news a great deal lately and you may be asking yourself, “What exactly is a DAF and is it right for me?” Simply put, a DAF helps individuals and families manage their charitable donations in an easy, cost-effective manner. It’s your “Charitable Checkbook.”

A DAF provides a flexible way for donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax deduction (if they itemize) and then recommend grants from the fund to various charitable entities over time. DAFs are simpler and more cost effective than creating a private foundation, can allow you to remain anonymous and protect your privacy when supporting a charity, and can help establish the spirit of generational giving within families.

DAFs are like charitable checkbooks because a donor contributes to their fund as frequently as they like, they can choose to invest their fund and potentially have it grow tax free, and then recommend grants from their fund to their favorite charities whenever they want.

Donor Advised Funds offer some distinct advantages over private foundations including significantly lower administrative fees, no required minimum annual distributions, no staffing or legal fees, no annual tax filing requirements, and no heavy regulations by the Internal Revenue Service.

  • Step 1: Donor makes an irrevocable contribution of cash, securities, or other assets.
  • Step 2: Donor immediately receives the maximum tax deduction allowable by the IRS.
  • Step 3: The contribution is placed into a DAF account where they can choose to invest it and potentially grow tax free, making even more money available for support.
  • Step 4: At any time afterward, donor recommends grants from DAF to qualified charities.

Now is a great time for Catholics within the Diocese of Venice in Florida to open Donor-Advised Funds with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida (CCF) because there is currently no minimum amount required to start a fund. Donors will be able to support any Catholic entity within the United States or any other qualified social-service or pro-life charity within the United States whose mission is in alignment with the teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition, they can choose to invest their DAF in a Catholic-screened portfolio. Which means the Foundation avoids investments in companies with business practices, products or services contrary to our Catholic Faith.

The CCF was established in 2002 as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that works with all of the Parishes, Schools and Catholic entities within the Diocese of Venice. The Foundation provides the tools and resources to help Faith-filled donors provide long-term support to the Catholic entities of their choice. Last year alone, the Foundation distributed more than $2.6 million in support throughout the Diocese and beyond thanks to the generosity of so many Catholic Legacy donors.

If you would like to learn more about creating a donor-advised fund with the Catholic Community Foundation, or if you would like to learn more about other gifting options, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124 or or visit