Donor Advised Funds

Donor Advised Funds are a charitable vehicle in which a donor contributes cash or assets to create a fund. The donor makes recommendations to the Community Foundation about how the funds will be used. Some Donor Advised Funds will be fully expended during the donor's lifetime; others will be a permanent legacy, benefiting the community into the future.


Donor Advised Funds are flexible and convenient, allowing donors to support a variety of charitable causes through their fund anytime they choose.  These funds offer a simple, powerful and highly personal approach to giving.  Learn more with our Donor Advised Fund frequently asked questions.


Why do donors establish Donor Advised Funds?

  • A generous spirit: The most important reason donors establish advised funds is they are generous and committed people with a passion for their causes and communities.
  • Community focus: People who establish Donor Advised Funds gain access to the Community Foundation's knowledge of and experience with a range of local charitable organizations.  Through events, newsletters and site visits, donors can learn about effective charities and programs they may not have discovered on their own. Community Foundation staff can also help donors and their families establish their philanthropic goals and devise giving strategies to meet those goals.
  • Legacy: Donor Advised Funds can be set up as permanent funds, preserving the donor's legacy long after the donor has passed away.
  • Accountability: The Community Foundation is overseen by a public board of directors that reflect the community and conducts annual audits and Form 990s, making key financial information available to the public.

Establishing a Donor Advised Fund is

  • Personal: You recommend grants to your favorite charities.
  • Efficient:  You benefit from the most advantageous tax treatment for a charitable gift, and the Community Foundation handles the administrative details.  You can access information about your fund anytime online through DonorCentral, and you will receive quarterly statements that show all activity in your fund.  
  • Flexible:  Add to the fund at any time.  The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines can accept donations of almost any asset including cash, stock and real estate.  You can recommend grants online, by mail or by fax.   
  • Family friendly: Your entire family can be involved with charitable giving, and you have the ability to designate successor advisors to your fund.

Financial facts

  • A Donor Advised Fund can be established in any amount.
  • The ability to combine funds into professionally managed portfolios allows greater diversification of investments and access to investment vehicles that would not be possible for individual funds. 
  • The Community Foundation is about more than transactions; we are about transformation.  While fees collected for funds held at the Community Foundation support the processing of grant checks, accepting and acknowledging donations, completing annual audits and reporting; our fees also make you part of the change we enable in the communities we serve. It's the community convenings, the strategic grantmaking, the donor-connections, the facilitated dialogues, the nonprofit trainings and the promotion of charitable giving that ultimately transforms the communities we call home. Thank you for joining us to improve quality of life in your community.  We're simply better together.

  • Click here to view the Community Foundation's administrative fee schedule.

How to get started 

  • Discuss a Donor Advised Fund with us.
  • We will customize a fund agreement for you.
  • Make an initial contribution.
  • Donors who establish or give to Endow Iowa qualified funds are eligible to receive a 25% Endow Iowa Tax Credit in addition to normal federal charitable income tax deductions.


For more information

Sheila Kinman, CAPĀ®

Chief Advancement Officer

Phone (515) 447-4207