Donor-Advised Funds

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What is a donor-advised fund?

A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a separately identified fund or account created for charitable giving that is maintained and operated by a public charity, which is known as a sponsoring organization.

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

Why use a donor-advised fund?

With a donor-advised fund, donors can:  

  • Quickly and easily set up a donor-advised fund with no setup charges 
  • Avoid the complexity and expense of more complicated giving vehicles  
  • Achieve immediate charitable goals and receive available tax benefits
  • Simplify charitable giving and record keeping  
  • Grow most assets tax free
  • Initiate legacy conversations  
  • Engage the next generation in philanthropic conversations  
  • Fund future giving  


AEF is a 501(c)(3) public charity. You receive the tax benefit when you donate to AEF. Donor-advised funds can accept everything from cash and publicly traded securities to more sophisticated illiquid and alternative assets.

Donors receive a charitable gift acknowledgement when they contribute a gift to their AEF donor-advised fund account. 


AEF partners with firms and advisors in an unbiased manner to expand philanthropic giving through donor-advised funds. You can think of a donor-advised fund as a charitable account.

Gifted assets are managed by AEF-approved financial advisors recommended by AEF donors. This enables donors to create a significant charitable impact


AEF is an unbiased administrator and does not prohibit grants based on geographic, religious, or other categories. AEF’s donors can recommend grants to IRS-qualified public charities. Donors can choose to give to the causes and charities they care deeply about. 

AEF allows successor donor advisors to be named, allowing your charitable legacy to live on generationally.  

Learn More About the AEF Difference

How Does a Donor-Advised Fund Work at AEF? 

Step 1: Application and Account Opening

Your financial advisor contacts AEF to begin your donor-advised fund application. AEF works with your financial advisor to open the investment account that will house the gifted assets.  

Step 2: Investment and Charitable Strategies

Investment strategies are determined for the gifted assets to complement the donors charitable giving strategy and timeline. 

Step 3: Make an Impact

You are ready to begin your charitable journey.  

Let’s make an impact together

Want additional information? Select a resource below or contact us directly.


Ready to open a donor-advised fund?

To get started, have your financial advisor contact AEF or share the link below.

Financial advisors, click below to get started.

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