For Advisors

We realize the importance of client relationships. That is why our partnership with you and our donors is the focus of everything we do.  

AEF looks to you, the financial advisor, to determine where our gifted assets are custodied and how they are managed.  We believe our Advisor Portal is a best-in-class donor-advised fund application developed specifically with you in mind.  

Let’s make a significant impact together.  
Start the DAF Process

Whether you’re seeking to enhance or expand your client’s philanthropic impact, integrate charitable giving into their financial plan, or explore innovative investment opportunities within donor-advised funds, you’ll find the tools and insights you need with AEF. 

Donor-advised Funds:

Donor-advised funds are the most popular and fastest growing charitable giving vehicle in the country. They allow donors to be strategic about philanthropy by donating and recommending investments and grants to efficiently create a significant charitable impact. 

AEF financial advisors recognize that if they are not talking to their clients about how to make their charitable giving tax efficient, simplify their record keeping, or provide the potential for those charitable assets to grow, there is an opportunity to approach that conversation and expand the relationship. 

Let us help you integrate this conversation into your advisory practice.  

Here are the top questions from advisors who are seeking to help their donors make an impact. 

As an advisor, can I manage/custody the assets in my client’s donor- advised fund?

AEF does not manage assets gifted to us by our donors. AEF hires you at the recommendation of our donor to open an investment account managed by you to hold the gifted assets. AEF’s open architecture allows investment accounts to be opened on various custodial platforms. 

Do I manage the assets?

Yes. AEF hires you to manage our gifted assets and provides an Investment Policy Statement.

How large is AEF?

Established in 1993, American Endowment Foundation (AEF) is one of the nation’s largest independent donor-advised fund sponsors. AEF exclusively works with financial advisors and their donors, whose generosity enables us to be entrusted with nearly $7B in assets and grant nearly $5M each business day.

How does AEF charge for its services?

AEF charges an administrative fee based on assets under management. 

How do advisors get compensated for their work?

AEF is the owner of all donor-advised fund assets. Accordingly, we engage you as a financial advisor and compensate you accordingly.

What are the contribution and balance requirements for a donor-advised fund?

Individual donors can establish a donor-advised fund with a minimum of $25,000. Businesses and other organizations should call for details. After the initial contribution, you may make contributions of $1,000 or more at a time.

Can I transfer an existing donor-advised fund to AEF?

Yes. AEF can assist advisors and their clients in weighing the benefits of moving an existing donor advised fund, and, where appropriate, in completing the transfer.

Is there a minimum grant amount?

Yes. $250 is the minimum grant amount.

Does AEF accept RMDs or QCDs to a fund?

While some donor-advised funds sponsoring organizations allow donors to make IRA distributions directly to donor-advised funds, these distributions will have to be reported to the IRS and the donor will have to pay income tax on the distribution.

For this reason, and out of an abundance of caution and concern for our donors, AEF has chosen not to accept IRA distributions directly to a donor-advised fund during a donor’s lifetime.

How do you determine the fair market value of a contribution?

Fair Market Value (for purposes of the charitable contribution deduction) is determined on the date that contributions are received by AEF.

In the case of contributions of publicly-traded stock, Fair Market Value is the average of the high and the low for the day that the assets were received by AEF.

In the case of contributions of mutual funds, Fair Market Value is the closing price on the date of receipt by AEF.

Can a donor-advised fund be opened through a bequest?

Yes. A donor advised fund can be opened through a bequest. The exact bequest language for percentage, specific or residual bequests can be found here.