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New Reports Highlight Growth of Donor-Advised Funds and Giving Circles

Author: Stephen Sherman

Dec05

Even taking into account the Great Recession, we’ve generally seen the numbers, assets, and giving for private and community foundations in the United States continue to rise over the past decade. Over the long term, that growth has been steady and alludes to the staying power of foundations in spite of changing social, economic and political circumstances. However, while foundations have the capacity to make transformative grants in their respective communities, collectively they account for a relatively small share of charitable giving when compared with contributions from individual donors.

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) and giving circles lie somewhere in between foundations and individuals on the giving spectrum and are two of the fastest growing philanthropic vehicles. Two recent studies offer insight into the growth of these giving instruments in the United States.

The 2017 Donor-Advised Fund Report, published by the National Philanthropic Trust, surveys the growth of DAFs in the United States from 2010-2016 and provides an analysis of funds by sponsor type. Data was gathered from over 1,000 organizations that sponsor DAFs, including national charities, community foundations and single-issue charities. In 2016, there were approximately 285,000 individual donor-advised funds across the country – more than three times the number of private foundations. Nearly 44,000 DAFs are housed in organizations within SECF’s 11-state footprint, representing around 15 percent of all donor-advised funds in the country.

The 2017 report offered a glimpse at the growth and concentration of DAFs by state. Massachusetts (82,643), California (38,590) and Pennsylvania (20,819) were home to more than half of all DAFs in the country in 2016 thanks to prominent charities such as Fidelity and Vanguard. Georgia was one of the fastest-growing states for DAFs and ranked fourth nationally with 19,736 funds, slightly ahead of New York (18,481). Georgia’s leading position can be largely attributed to the National Christian Foundation, located in Alpharetta, which houses more than 16,000 donor-advised funds. Within the Southeast region, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia also host significant numbers of DAFs.

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January 2020 Public Policy Update

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jan07

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.


SECF Public Policy Committee Welcomes New Leadership, Prepares for a Busy Year Ahead

SECF's work on public policy is heading into 2020 with plenty of momentum following crucial victories in Washington to cap off 2019, including the simplification of the private foundation excise tax and the repeal of harmful changes to the unrelated business income tax (UBIT).

The year ahead promises to be busy and unpredictable, particularly with elections on the horizon. In a few weeks, SECF's Public Policy Committee will meet to discuss our strategy for the year and the priorities we will present to lawmakers at Foundations on the Hill and beyond.

Leading the committee in 2020 will be two co-chairs: Jane Alexander, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Mississippi, and Susan DeVenny, president and CEO of the J. Marion Sims Foundation.

Jane provides a vital perspective on the many policy issues that affect not just philanthropy, but community foundations in particular. She has served as the president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Mississippi, based in Jackson, since 2012. During that time, the foundation's assets have grown to $60 million, with more than 250 funds. Jane has led the foundation in working on a number of public-private partnerships, including an initiative between the Mississippi Governor's Office, the Mayor of the City of Jackson and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to study and identify challenges facing the Jackson Public School system, and suggest community-based solutions to address those challenges. 

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