Donor-Advised Fund FAQs

We understand choosing the right charitable vehicle may be overwhelming, so we created a series of videos that answer some of our most frequently asked questions. We hope you find these helpful.

What is a Donor-Advised Fund?

A donor-advised fund is like a checking or savings account that you can use for all your charitable giving. A great alternative to a private foundation, a donor-advised fund offers you the most involvement. Through your fund, you can recommend grants to your favorite charities and Akron Community Foundation will handle all the paperwork, in your name. Plus, you can take advantage of our knowledge of local issues, if and when you want to.

Establishing your donor-advised fund can take as little as 20 minutes or longer, depending on the type(s) of assets you’re using to start your fund and how you define your charitable goals. Everyone has different needs, capacities, and charitable inclinations. Akron Community Foundation will work with you to ensure your fund aligns with your interests as a donor. Your donor-advised fund can be named however you like, or you can choose to keep it anonymous.

We also offer donor-advised fund options for multi-generational giving through our Center for Family Philanthropy. Our staff is trained to facilitate family meetings to develop your own personalized giving strategy so your fund can live in perpetuity. However you define family, Akron Community Foundation is here to help you achieve your charitable goals.

For more information about our donor-advised fund options, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.


Benefits of Donor-Advised Fund


What Are the Benefits of a Donor-Advised Fund versus a Private Foundation?

Private foundations and donor-advised funds are very different.

A private foundation is a legal entity and therefore can sometimes cost more to establish compared to a donor-advised fund. A private foundation forces you to pay an attorney and an accountant as well as file your own 990 each year. In addition, with a private foundation, the IRS requires you to spend 5% of your fund balance each year.

A donor-advised fund can be established at the foundation with as little as $5,000. For a 2% fee of your total fund balance, our staff takes care of all the administrative aspects of your donor-advised fund – such as your grantmaking, legal and financial due diligence – and we’ll file your annual 990 for you. Akron Community Foundation’s staff can also offer its expertise if you need help with grantmaking decisions, evaluating local nonprofits or anything else about being philanthropic in your community.

Most people look at a donor-advised fund as the most efficient, effective and easy way to do their philanthropic work.

For more information about the difference between donor-advised funds and private foundations, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

What is the Difference Between a Donor-Advised Fund at Akron Community Foundation vs. Financial Institutions?

Donor-advised funds through Akron Community Foundation or a financial institution such as Schwab, Vanguard, or Fidelity are very similar. The main difference is that Akron Community Foundation can offer you its local expertise and community resources for more impactful philanthropy.

Akron Community Foundation can provide you with detailed information about local organizations that are impacting the issues you care about. We’re able to share specifics about what local nonprofit organizations have done, what they’re doing now and how they’re making a difference our community. We work for our community, which means our job is to ensure your grant dollars are being put to great use.

Our community foundation can also lend a variety of resources to help you achieve your charitable goals. We actively assess the community’s needs so our donors are as informed as they can be when they make funding decisions. In addition, we can expose you to opportunities, like-minded donors, and community events to help involve you in what you support. Our governing board is also made up of local community leaders who meet on a quarterly basis to ensure we’re acting as the best community asset we can be.

If you’d like to learn more about how a donor-advised fund at Akron Community Foundation can help you make a difference in your community, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.


Opening a Donor-Advised Fund Account


Can My Financial Advisor Be Involved?

Financial advisors are welcome at Akron Community Foundation – in fact, we encourage their involvement. We understand the life-long relationship you and your professional advisor share, so it’s important to us that you include them as you wish throughout your charitable journey.

We work within somewhat of a triangle between professional advisors, our donors and the foundation, and we keep these relationships strong. We even have our own Professional Advisor Council which we collaborate with to provide the best services to our fundholders.

To learn more about involving your financial advisor in your philanthropic activities, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Who Can Open a Donor-Advised Fund?

Anyone can open a donor-advised fund. We work with individuals, families and corporations who are very strategic in their philanthropy and those who are still learning what they want to support. Wherever you are in your charitable journey, we’re here to make sure your funds go the furthest in improving your community.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

How Much Money Do I Need to Open a Donor-Advised Fund?

Akron Community Foundation requires a minimum of $5,000 to open a donor-advised fund, whereas a private family foundation recommends $5 – $10 million to cover necessary expenses of establishment.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Can My Donor-Advised Fund Account Be Named After Someone Other Than Me?

Donor-advised funds have the capacity to have and bear the name of anything you would like. If you would like your family name or if you’d like to name it after your parents, or in memory or honor of a loved one, that works too. You can, basically, name it after a tree if you like, like “The Oak Fund” or something like that to remain anonymous and let your giving be done without your family name associated with it. Many of our funds though are “The Smith Family Fund of The Akron Community Foundation” but naming a fund here at the foundation is totally up to you.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

How Quickly Can I Create a Donor-Advised Fund Account?

The speed by which we can establish a fund here is dependent exclusively on what you are funding your fund with, so cash as long as that check is here, or the money is wired, we could have that fund established for you in as little as 20 minutes. Other gifts such as real estate, life insurance or property may take a little bit of time to liquidate. Whenever the asset is received by the foundation your fund is established.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.


Managing a Donor-Advised Fund Account


What Types of Fees are Charged to My Donor-Advised Fund Account?

Our donor-advised funds are charged up to 2% for administrative fee here at the foundation. That 2% covers the expense of all the grant-making, the investments, and the management of the funds in addition to quarterly statements that are going out, and the administration of the foundation. That fee is calculated after the initial gift is made and tax deduction has been given to the donors. It is not in lieu of or upfront, it’s after the fact and that is reflected on your quarterly statement as it relates to the expense of that fee as it fluctuates with the market.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

How are the Assets in My Donor-Advised Fund Account Invested?

Well, the beauty of a gift to the Akron Community Foundation allows for your donor-advised fund to be pooled with our total asset base of the foundation. That total asset base is managed by our board, a committee of our board, our finance committee, and our staff. It has a very structured policy by which our financial managers must meet. They take good care of this. It’s something that is looked after extensively, and our finance committee is on top of our assets as it relates to the returns and the investment strategies and ensuring that they are safe, sound and within compliance by all our money managers.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Can My Children be Involved with My Donor-Advised Fund Account?

The involvement of children in philanthropy is probably the greatest gift you can give your kids. We are very much in tune with engaging kids in the conversations of philanthropy. I would highly recommend if you have small children or grandchildren that you bring them into the conversation.

At the Akron Community Foundation, we’ve taken this a step further and we have established the Center for Family Philanthropy which will allow families to come, have facilitated meetings to engage the multi-generations within the family to ensure that giving is unique to each generation.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Can My Donor-Advised Fund Account Have Multiple Successors?

A donor-advised fund is a unique instrument in the sense that you can identify individuals who you would like to be successor advisors to your fund. After you have passed, you can identify children who you would like to sit in the seat of making those decisions after you’re gone. And the beauty of the Akron Community Foundation is that it can go on in perpetuity if that’s what you want, so your great-grandchildren, your great-great-grandchildren. Many of our families, though, realize that probably first, second and third generations are as far as they’d like it to go.

After that, community foundations were established on the premise that eventually donor-advised funds would roll over into the community fund and allow the foundation to use those assets to make competitive grants for the community.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.


Contributing to a Donor-Advised Fund Account


What Types of Assets Can I Contribute to My Donor-Advised Fund Account? Which One Is Best?

The most popular options of contributions made to your fund would be cash, of course, stock, be they appreciated or just regular stock. We also take Sub S Corp stock which is unique. We are finding that many organizations don’t take that. We take life insurance. We’re able to take art, real estate or unique items that have value. The ease is within the cash which could either be a check or a wire transfer, stock, which is quickly turned around. The other elements tend to take a little bit longer.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Can an IRA Be Rolled Into a Donor-Advised Fund?

IRA assets are not allowed to go into a donor-advised fund. You can make a charitable gift with an IRA rollover, but it must either go into a designated fund or directly to the organization. It cannot pass through or sit in your donor-advised fund.

While an IRA is a great charitable tool, it cannot be used to fund a donor-advised fund.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Are Charitable Gifts Irrevocable?

Yes, all gifts to the Akron Community Foundation are irrevocable. Irrevocable means that you’ve given up the total asset to the Akron Community Foundation. You no longer own it. It is an asset of the Akron Community Foundation. While you benefit from that gift as it relates to your donor-advised fund and your grant recommendation capacity of that asset, you do not have control of that asset any longer. It becomes an asset of the Akron Community Foundation. All gifts to the Akron Community Foundation are irrevocable.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Are Additional Contributions to My Donor-Advised Fund Account Tax-Deductible?

All gifts through the Akron Community Foundation and your donor-advised funds specifically are tax-deductible. The tax deduction will depend on the type of gift and again, we’d want you to work with your professional advisor, your tax advisor to ensure that you are getting the best benefit of that gift as it relates to your tax situation.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Will I Get a Receipt for My Contributions?

Akron Community Foundation will make a receipt for every donation that comes through the foundation. We usually mail you a receipt within 24 hours after your gift is made.

We pride our self on that. That’s one of the things that we think is a value-added of that relationship of trust that you can count on us to make sure that that receipt is in your mailbox.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

What is the Minimum Amount for an Akron Community Foundation Grant?

At the Akron Community Foundation, the minimum grant that can be made is $250. The largest grant we’ve made is up to a million dollars. Depending on what your available spendable in your account is will determine what your grant capacity is. We spend 5%. We calculate a 5% spendable annually on your fund, and with your quarterly statements. You are kept up-to-date on your available spending that you have.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Do I Have to Make Grants in Summit County Exclusively?

Donor-advised funds have the capacity of making grants anywhere they want. While we at the Akron Community Foundation are geographically bound to Summit and Medina counties, donor-advised funds can make grants to any recognized 501(c)(3) in the world. If an international organization has an IRS 501 (c)(3) status, we can process that grant requests to that organization.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

How Many Grants Can I Recommend in a Year?

The beauty of a donor-advised fund is that it’s a tool that you have for philanthropy. If you desire to make a grant today and you have the capacity within your fund to do that, you can. Note that the foundation processes grants twice a month, on the first and the fifteenth. Just keep that in mind as you open your donor-advise fund, we don’t cut checks daily.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Is There a Minimum Amount I Have to Grant Out in a Year the Way Private Foundations Do?

The benefit of a fund at the Akron Community Foundation ensures that you do not have to spend a dime out of your fund. The foundation as a whole more than meets the federal criteria of 5% spend out. As a fundholder at the Akron Community Foundation, if you would like to hold on to your spendable to make a significant gift in the next two years, you can accrue your spendable to be able to make that one time gift.

Unlike a private family foundation that is mandated to spend out 5%, you have that right here at the foundation to do that. We are not under that same umbrella whereby our fundholders are mandated to do that in any way, shape, or form.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

How Quickly Can My Grants Be Processed?

Grants are processed twice a month at the Akron Community Foundation, and there are a couple points of entries for you to supply the information. Donor central is our online portal, whereby you can go online at any time you want and make those grant recommendations. An email comes over to our team, and that grant starts the process of being qualified in terms of making sure that they’re in compliance with the IRS et cetera.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Is a Fee Charged for Each Grant I Recommend?

Actually, there are no fees charged for grant recommendations. That cost is recovered in the up to 2% that we charged for administration fee. That’s part of our administrative support that we give to our donor-advised funds at the foundation.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

How Do I Decide Which Charities to Support?

At the Akron Community Foundation, first of all, chances are you going to come into this relationship with some charities that you’ve identified as your charity of choice. But we have taken the onus of making sure we expose you to charities that you may not be aware of. We ask you a lot about your areas of interest. We would at some point get likeminded donors in the room, other fundholders like yourself, who have the same propensity of passion around an issue.

With your capacity to make grants to organizations, we would like to expand your horizon. But we understand that oftentimes you come in with predefined charities that you know you’re going to support, and we want you to continue to do that. However, we want you to know that we’re also going to provide you with opportunities to expand your understanding and provide additional knowledge of the community as well as what’s happening in town.

The Akron Community Foundation’s history with our On the Table discussions, and other community research projects shows us where there are gaps in funding, and we always make sure that our donor-advised fundholders are aware of those opportunities. This will help you continue to make grants or start making grants in those areas that might interest you.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Are there Any Other Specific Types of Grants that the Akron Community Foundation Cannot Make?

Restrictions on donor-advised funds adhere to IRS codes that prohibit you from personally benefitting from a donation. For example, receiving a free meal or ticket to an event when you sponsor someone or something. You also cannot give to an individual or pay a pledge. Those are the only restrictions around the grant making that a donor-advised fund must adhere to. We work with you to ensure you’re aware of anything that might surface in that respect.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Can I Make an Anonymous Grant from My Donor-Advised Fund Account?

One of the things we have found is some families prefer somewhat of a cloak around their family name and do not want to lead with their family name in making their grants. They often name their fund something different like “The Willow Tree Fund” or “The Door Fund” or something that’s meaningful to them. Maybe it’s a significant phrase that they use in their family, but it allows their fund to retain that cloak of anonymity without exposing their name.

In addition to those options, we work with families in terms of saying, “Do you want your name out there? Because it’s going to be published.” or “It will be anonymous, and it will never be published.”. Oftentimes, people like to give and just know that their name shows up in a playbill or on someone’s wall. They know who that is, but no one else does. Again, the foundation is so open and receptive to doing whatever is in your best interest or your most desired mode as it relates to how you want to create this fund, work this fund and have it do your charitable work in the community.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.


Tax Deductions


Does My Tax Deduction depend on the Type of Asset I Contribute?

A tax deduction is absolutely dependent on the type of asset that you contribute. We prefer that you work with your tax advisor to determine what is the best source for you. Here at the Akron Community Foundation, we do not give advice on taxes. We ask that you go back to your tax advisor and get that information because they can advise you on the best impact on your tax situation.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Can Income Accrued in My Donor-Advised Fund be Deducted as an Additional Charitable Donation?

The income that’s accrued in your donor-advised fund is not charitably deductible by the donor. It is an asset of the Akron Community Foundation. We make those available for your spendable, but it is not a tax-deductible value to you as a donor.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Do I File My Contribution Receipt with My Taxes at the End of the Year?

As our donor-advised fund holders come to us, there are so many unique situations that they bring to our attention. Tax benefits are a huge issue to address when partnering with the Akron Community Foundation. Even in establishing the fund. We highly recommend that you work closely with your professional advisor. Specifically, your tax accountant to ensure that you’re receiving all those tax benefits that would fit your specific situation.

For more information about opening a donor-advised fund, contact Margaret Medzie, Akron Community Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer at mmedzie@akroncf.org or 330-436-5610.

Margaret Medzie
Margaret Medzie Vice President and Chief Development Officer
Call me at 330-436-5610 or email me
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