Skip to main content

Donor Advised Funds

Maximize Your Giving

Giving to charity should be fun, easy and efficient. Many donors choose donor advised funds (DAFs) as a flexible and efficient way to organize charitable giving.

These charitable accounts empower you to give as often as you wish to the nonprofits you care about. What better way for nonprofits to benefit from these timely gifts! Choose a name, fund the account and let this be your personal vehicle to support community efforts that align with your values, goals and charitable vision.

What is a donor advised fund (DAF)?

What are the benefits of a DAF?

When you establish a DAF with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, you can fund the account with cash, stocks or other assets such as real estate. These gifts are generally tax-deductible at the time of the contribution and are invested to grow over time, while you recommend grants from the fund to your favorite charities.

Watch this brief video for an introduction to the benefits of a DAF. For even more on how a donor advised fund can support your giving goals, view the on-demand video.

A donor advised fund

with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation offers key advantages:

Receive a potential tax deduction the year you give to your fund and then decide how to direct the funds at your discretion.


You focus on giving — we handle all the accounting, legal and investment services.


You are matched with a philanthropic advisor who will partner with you to help maximize your giving through their expertise and knowledge of the community.


Know that your charitable dollars are wisely invested and grow tax-free, allowing more nonprofits to continue to benefit from your generosity.

We Can Guide You Through It

Our experienced gift planners can help you build your charitable vision and create the right fund for you.

Please call us at 651.224.5463, email, or reach out to one of our gift planners today to discuss your charitable options.

Donor-advised fundholder Melanie Kleiss poses outside

Melanie, Foundation donor since 2016

Meet Melanie

Melanie K. has been donating to environmental organizations, causes and issues she cares about since college. In an effort to amplify her giving, the mother of two set up a donor advised fund with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation in 2016. She had just sold a business, and her fund provided her family with financial and charitable benefits. Through her donor advised fund, Melanie continues to give back to nature.

You Have Many Gift Options

You may wonder what types of assets can be used to open your DAF. You may be surprised to find out that you can turn real estate, stock or your retirement assets into a charitable gift — and make a bigger impact than you ever thought possible! Many options can even provide income during your lifetime or significant tax benefits — or both. Our experienced team can help you determine the best type of gift for your personal situation.

Ready to Start Your Fund?

You have three ways to start your donor advised fund:


Give our experienced gift planners a call at 651.224.5463. We can talk through any questions you have.


Have your financial advisor reach out to us at 651.224.5463 or


Save this donor advised fund information form to your computer, then complete and return the form to us at

The minimum gift to establish a donor advised fund is $25,000. If you’re interested in opening a fund with more than $250,000 and would like your professional advisor to manage its investments, you may be interested in our Individually Managed Fund option. Give us a call at 651.224.5463 to learn more.

Golden Contributions

David and Janet opened their donor advised fund with the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation with a unique donation — a long-held coin collection — that was a gift from David’s father.

Long-time supporters of the arts, David and Janet expanded their charitable giving in the wake of COVID-19 to support organizations that provide essential services to the community.

“Working with the Foundation has given us the opportunity to give these gifts during our lifetime,” David said. “As funds go, it's a modest amount of money, but we've done extraordinary things with it because of the help and great care the fund has had with the Foundation.”

Donor advised fundholders David and Janet, Foundation donors

David and Janet, Foundation donors since 2013

With a technique known as gift bunching, you can maintain your charitable impact while maximizing your potential tax benefits. Our Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Services, Jeremy Wells, explains the advantages of gift bunching in this video.

In the example in the video, a donor clusters - or bunches - three years’ worth of charitable giving in one year to their DAF and takes the charitable deduction on their taxes. They then make grants out of their DAF to the community causes they support over time. The donor takes the standard deduction in those off years where they aren’t bunching their gifts.

Wondering if a DAF is right for your charitable goals?

Please call us at 651.224.5463, email, or reach out to one of our gift planners today to start a conversation.

The Difference between a DAF and a Private Foundation

A donor advised fund has some similarities with having your own foundation — and some important differences.

A DAF offers you a flexible and easy-to-establish vehicle for charitable giving and is relatively inexpensive to administer. With a DAF, the administration, investment management and fiduciary responsibility are fulfilled by our community foundation.

Private foundations allow for greater control of assets by the donor. Private foundations are separate nonprofit corporations or trusts, and must apply for tax-exempt status from the IRS, file annual tax returns and meet minimum payout requirements.

Whether you choose to establish a donor advised fund, private family foundation or both, we can provide the tools and support you need. Working in close partnership with your professional advisor, our team can help determine which option works best for you. Together, we can create a giving plan that fulfills your charitable aims — now and in the future.

We’ll Help You with Your Charitable Goals

Please call us at 651.224.5463, email, or reach out to one of our gift planners today to learn how we can help you build your charitable vision.