FAQs for Individual Donors
Grants can be made to any IRS-approved public charity. Approved organizations are U.S.-based organizations that qualify as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are public charities as defined by Section 509(a) of the code. AEF provides you the ability to research through CharitySearch, from GuideStar®, a database of over 1 million IRS-registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Note: All grant recommendations are subject to approval of the Fund. We are also able to make grants to international charities through CAF America.
Yes. You can recommend that we work with your financial advisor to determine how the assets in your Fund will be invested, and invest in a broad range of securities, including individual stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
AEF takes great care to comply with all laws governing charitable gift giving and all IRS guidelines affecting donor advised funds. The fund will not approve any grants that:
- Are made to individuals or non-qualified charities;
- Provide benefit to the donor or individual;
- Support lobbying, political campaigns or other political activities;
- Support a charitable event that would constitute a quid-pro-quo arrangement (e.g., tickets for a fundraiser dinner.)
The check will bear the name of the American Endowment Foundation; however, the accompanying letter will recognize the donor or account name (per your instructions) who recommended the particular grant. You may also remain anonymous if you wish.
Donors may recommend a grant to fulfill a pledge to a charitable organization provided that AEF makes no reference to the existence of the pledge when making the grant, the donor does not receive any benefit that is more than incidental on account of the grant, and the donor does not attempt to claim a charitable deduction with respect to the grant.
Yes. Contribution statements are mailed for each contribution. You will also receive quarterly statements.
Tax laws require that your charitable contribution must be irrevocable and unconditional in order for you to receive the associated tax benefits. Your role as donor advisor to those funds does allow you to recommend how the funds are invested and distributed.
You may designate your donor advised fund as a beneficiary to a portion or all of your IRA. We encourage you to consult with your tax advisor to discuss the tax consequences of utilizing an IRA for charitable giving.
You can recommend a grant online once you have logged into DonorCentral, or you can fill out the Grant Recommendation Form and fax, mail or email it to us.
No. All account earnings accrue within your donor advised fund, thereby increasing the amount that you can recommend for grants to public charities. The earnings in the fund do not increase any tax deduction you can claim for contributing to the account, since you receive your deduction at the time of contribution.
Since its founding in 1993, AEF’s donors and their advisors have appreciated our independence which allows us to singularly focus on what we do best – deliver highly personalized service and administration. In accordance with our granting policy, AEF makes grants to IRS-qualified 501(c)(3) pubic charities. Accordingly, we are guided by our due diligence process which relies on the IRS determination as to whether a charity is in good standing under the Internal Revenue Code. The Board of Directors of AEF remains cause-neutral with respect to the disposition of our charitable assets ensuring that AEF remains independent of any viewpoint espoused by a particular tax-exempt entity.
Yes. As a public charity, AEF can be named as a CRT remainderman.
If we have worked with the charity before, the check will ordinarily be issued within 5-7 business days. If we have not granted to the charity before, we perform due diligence on your behalf to verify that it is a 501(c)3 charity.
Yes. We encourage our donors to see their account as a vehicle with which to leave a lasting legacy of giving. You may name one or more designated individuals as the successor(s) on your account, to take over as donor-advisors when you are no longer able to, or no longer want to. Alternatively, you may designate a specified charity as the beneficiary, and the account will be distributed to the charity according to your distribution plan.
Yes, you can name anyone you want as successor advisor. Simply name your successor advisor in the Disposition section of the Fund Application. If you want to name more than one successor advisor, please identify who will serve as spokesperson of the group. When they succeed you, they will be able to name successor advisors.
With proper guidance from an adult, you can involve your children or grandchildren as young as 8 years old and can create donor advised funds in their name. Here is additional information about engaging your family members in your DAF.
You will receive a copy of the letter sent to the charity.
Typically, your account is open and funded within 24 hours from the receipt of your contribution. On some occasions (particularly if assets are being transferred from a financial institution to another.), the process can take from two to six weeks. If the assets are coming from another financial institution and you are concerned about timing, we recommend you contact us for strategies to expedite the transfer.
Yes. If you request anonymity on the Grant Recommendation Form, AEF will make the grant without disclosing your identity to the grantee organization. This can be done selectively or for all grants.
We will e-mail you a notice that your quarterly statement is available for access through our online donor portal. The statement will itemize contributions and grants and list the value of your account.You will receive acknowledgement that can be used to support your tax deduction. If you recommend a grant to charity, you will also receive a copy of the letter we mail to the charity.
Click here to go to DonorCentral if you do not have your Password, please call us at1-888-440-4233.
You can reset your password online through DonorCentral. However, if you need assistance, please call us at 1-888-440-4233 and we will be happy to assist you.
Yes. Your personal information is only accessible to you and AEF. If you approve, your advisor can be granted access to your DonorCentral account.