Foundations

Who’s Afraid of DAFs?

Critics of donor-advised funds miss the real story of why they have grown so fast, argues a longtime community foundation leader.

It’s human nature to fear what we don’t understand. The objects of such unreasoning fear, according to a Scottish tradition, are “ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night.” Today, on the philanthropic landscape, nothing goes bump in the night quite so resoundingly as donor-advised funds (DAFs). The astonishing growth of DAFs—charitable giving vehicles over which donors retain a measure of control—is almost beyond comprehension. And...


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