When I interviewed for my current position at Schwab Charitable in 1999, the nonprofit was still a start-up and just launching a “donor-advised fund” giving program. Though I had been active in the charitable sector for 15 years, I was not yet familiar with donor-advised funds.

Although the Cleveland Foundation pioneered the donor-advised fund concept in 1914 and New York Community Trust formalized a donoradvised fund program in 1931, it was the launch of several national donoradvised funds by...

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