Steve Gamer, “Empower Your Giving With A Donor Advised Fund”

Jewish Community Foundation Los Angeles Steve GamerBy Steve Gamer, Vice President, Advancement

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Financial services institutions play a vital role in the smooth functioning of our society and enable us, for example, to secure home mortgages, finance business transactions, and take out loans for college. Yet, there is one area of impact where a bank or brokerage firm’s abilities can’t match the combination of knowledge, expertise, and service offered by nonprofit like the Jewish Community Foundation (The Foundation). When it comes to strengthening the social fabric through philanthropy, there is no better vehicle for most individuals and families than The Foundation’s signature Donor Advised Fund (DAF).

The idea behind the DAF is simple: By opening one with The Foundation, you gain an easy, accessible tool for making charitable donations – without the administrative headaches. You decide where to direct your charitable dollars, and we take care of the rest, providing you with one centralized location for recording your gifts and tax deductions. It’s a powerful approach to giving that has attracted record-breaking investment: The Foundation currently manages about $1.6 billion in charitable assets entrusted to us by 1,400 families, ranking us among the 10 largest foundations in Los Angeles. Most notably, DAFs are the fastest-growing planned giving tool, with more than 1 million created last year. Why do so many people turn to The Foundation to distribute their charitable gifts through a DAF? Because it’s one of the smartest ways to enhance your charitable giving.

Take, for example, trusts-and-estates attorney Paul Gordon Hoffman, a founding member of the nationally recognized Los Angeles law firm Hoffman, Sabban & Watenmaker. He routinely advises clients on matters related to charitable planning and how it fits into the scheme of their estate plans. Knowing the value of a DAF firsthand, Paul and his wife, Sue, decided to establish one at The Foundation a decade ago to simplify their charitable giving. “Our DAF enables us to support a wide range of causes more efficiently and strategically, provides us with a lot of flexibility, and affords us access to The Foundation’s helpful guidance with our giving when we need it, as was the case during the pandemic.”

Speaking of flexibility, you can fund a DAF with a variety of assets such as cash, appreciated stock and real estate, and you can recommend grants to a nearly unlimited amount of nonprofits, Jewish or secular, on your own schedule. You may also select investment options to potentially grow your fund (minimum level required).

Opening a DAF with The Foundation is just the beginning because you’ll have complimentary access to our Center for Designed Philanthropy, a seasoned team of professionals dedicated to helping you explore your interests and meet your giving goals. The Center enables you to craft meaningful giving strategies in areas you’re passionate about, among other beneficial services.

With an intimate understanding of the nonprofit landscape across Los Angeles and Israel, we share our insight through educational programs featuring industry experts on a wide array of topics, including the latest trends in philanthropy. In addition, our popular networking events allow you to build valuable partnerships with others focused on advancing tikkun olam, repairing the world and pursuing justice.

Giving through a DAF connects you to something bigger: a group of people banding together to advance the common good. Working in concert as part of a larger community can dramatically increase the effect of an individual contribution and the potential positive outcome for the specific cause.

Doing right by the community has afforded us longevity with many donor families. We are proud to work alongside multiple generations of families (often wealth creators and their children and grandchildren) who turn to us for guidance about putting values into action and leaving vibrant legacy.

Key Benefits of a Donor Advised Fund:

  • With an initial contribution of at least $5,000 in cash, appreciated securities, or real estate, you’ll receive an immediate fair market value charitable tax deduction.
  • You can recommend unlimited grants (minimum $100) from your DAF, 24/7, through our secure online portal, review your fund’s balance and giving history, and add to your fund anytime with a credit card or online check.
  • Our Center for Designed Philanthropy offers complimentary philanthropic consultations and educational programs on giving more strategically.
  • The Foundation’s annual fee is 1.5% of the DAF’s assets, a portion of which funds The Foundation’s grants programs, increasing the impact your dollars make in the community.
  • With a DAF, you can carry out your charitable giving more simply and cost-effectively than a private family foundation.

To download a PDF of this article, click here.