Private foundation or donor-advised fund?

Featured Fund

Alison J. and Ella W. Parsons Fund

"There was a sense that our board members were getting a bit old to remain in the role of having primary responsibility for the foundation." - Attorney Robert C. Nusbaum on converting the Parsons Foundation to a donor-advised fund.

If you have a private foundation or are thinking of starting one, you may want to consider a donor-advised fund at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. As a donor advisor you will enjoy the fun of recommending grants to nonprofits while avoiding the hassle of running your own foundation. We offer four different types of these active philanthropy funds.

The chart below compares basic differences between a donor-advised fund and a private foundation.

Donor Advised Fund Private Foundation
Donor Involvement Donor recommends grants to nonprofits that are then approved by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation board with grants paid in your name by the community foundation. Donor appoints board, which controls investments and grantmaking.
Tax Status Public charity Private charity
Minimum Initial Contribution
$25,000 $2 million traditionally recommended
Grantmaking and Administrative Support Professional staff is available at no charge to help identify and assess grantees, help you learn about community needs, verify nonprofit status of groups and handle investment, paperwork, filings and administration. Grants can be made anonymously if you wish. Foundations must arrange and support their own grantmaking, monitoring, investment and administration.
Start-up Costs None Legal, accounting, and filing fees and expenses.
Ongoing costs Annual fee assessed to assets All legal, accounting, and filing fees and expenses.

Income Tax Deductions for Gift

Donor Advised Fund Private Foundation
Cash Up to 50% of adjusted gross income. Up to 30% of adjusted gross income.
Appreciated Stock Fair market value up to 30% of adjusted gross income. Fair market value up to 20% of adjusted gross income.
Real estate and closely held stock Fair market value up to 30% of adjusted gross income. Cost basis up to 20% of adjusted gross income.