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Charitable Gifts Funds and Donor Advised Funds

A charitable gift fund is a fund established by a financial services company as a non-profit to allow for donor advised charitable giving to Lake Superior State University and other charities. It is not unusual for initial donations to these funds to be in the range of $5,000 to $25,000 to establish these funds.

For more information about charitable gift funds, see the CNN and Money article (Note: this citation and the explanation of charitable gift funds should be used for information only. It can not be construed that The University or the Foundation endorses any particular fund or this as a vehicle for giving.)

A donor advised fund is usually established through a community foundation or other non-profit organization. A donor makes some minimum initial gift (usually $10,000 or more) to establish a donor advised fund depending on the foundation’s rules. Additional contributions to the fund can be made at any time if permissible by the community foundation or fund.

The gift becomes the property of the community foundation or fund and is managed and invested as part of their endowment fund. There is usually a minimum annual distribution of some of the fund to charity. Usually the community foundation charges fees equaling a percentage of the funds as they “come in” and “go out” of the fund. (It is prudent for donors to ask for fee structures prior to making this kind gift.)

The donor suggests the recipients of grants to be made from this distribution amount. The board of directors of the foundation reviews these suggestions, and, if it approves them, makes distributions to the University through the LSSU Foundation or other named charities, identifying the grants as coming from the donor's donor advised fund. This places the ultimate grantmaking authority in the community foundation board’s hands, ensuring that the donor's gift establishing the donor advised fund is complete in the eyes of the IRS and therefore deductible.

Contact your local community foundation or other non-profit donor advised fund to explore ways of using this way of giving to the University. (This explanation of donor advised funds should be used for information only and can not be construed that the University or the Foundation endorses any particular fund or this as a vehicle for giving.)
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