How Donor Advised Funds Work

A Donor Advised Fund is a giving vehicle that many people use as an alternative to having their own private foundation. They have much lower administrative costs, they are easy to set up, and are a very flexible way to receive immediate tax benefits while also donating to causes you love for years to come.

Benefits of Having a Donor Advised Fund

Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are different from other philanthropic strategies, like a private foundation, in several key ways:

  • Establish easily: Our team can set up your DAF at no cost*, and with an initial minimum contribution requirement of $25,000.
  • Advise the fund: You determine the charitable purpose of your donation and recommend grants.
  • Take your time with decision-making: With a DAF, you can donate over time without having to decide immediately where that donation will go. This lets you take an income tax charitable deduction now and give when you are ready.
  • Enjoy tax efficiencies: When contributing non-marketable assets—such as privately held stock or hedge fund interests—to a DAF, your income-tax deduction is based on the fair market value of those assets. The tax deduction for non-marketable assets contributed to a private foundation, on the other hand, is typically limited to the donor’s cost basis.
  • Diversify a concentrated portfolio: Our team can help you contribute appreciated publicly traded stock to a donor-advised fund to reduce your concentrated stock position.
  • Fully managed by us: As a donor advised fund sponsor organization, we manage the fund per IRS regulations and handle annual IRS tax filing, so your donations receive the appropriate deduction.

Donor Advised Fund Strategy & Planning

As a donor advised fundholder, you have the freedom to recommend where to direct your philanthropy. For some, their areas of interest are focused. For others, they are concerned with directing support to where it is needed most. Park City Community Foundation can help advise you and has deep relationships and history in supporting local nonprofits that a making a big impact. Our expert advisory services enable donors to be champions for community initiatives or establish charitable funds and contribute a variety of assets to them, so you can support the issues and organizations you love in a big way. Read More »

Donor Advised Fund management services include:

  • Connection to local nonprofits – so you can learn more about the greatest needs in the community
  • Online fund management – to help you track your giving
  • Personalized and professional service – to ensure you realize your philanthropic goals
  • Access to investment and giving experts – to make the most of your fund or donation

For donor advised fundholders looking to develop their own fund spending policy, we understand the many factors which may shape your annual giving. We offer one-on-one assistance with helping you determine what spending policy is right for you and your fund.

Fee Schedule 

There is no setup fee for opening a fund at the Community Foundation. Fund management fees range based on the intended transactional activity of the fund. See Schedule of Fees »

Open a Fund

You can establish a fund by completing a fund agreement and making an irrevocable contribution of at least $25,000. You will receive an immediate tax deduction and can start recommending grants right away. Contact Sam Mueller at or 435-214-7477 to get started.


Everyone! Part-time and full-time residents – whether you spend a week at a time or year-round in Park City, we can help you find causes you care about locally, in addition to your favorite nonprofits around the country. Long-time and new residents – whether you have been in your home for years or just recently moved to this special community, we are here to help connect you to lasting community impact.
We can help make sure that your DAF suits your current and future needs. We offer: Donor Advised Funds, Business Advised Funds, Field of Interest Funds, Designated Funds, Supporting Organizations, and Family Foundations. Additional information on the differences between these fund types can be found in our Fee Schedule.
We accept: cash, publicly-traded stock, real estate, tangible personal property, retained life estate, bargain sales, retirement plans, and life insurance.
You can be as creative as you want to be! Many donors use their family name to name their fund and others choose a family motto or special word to them. You are always welcome to select a different name, such as the “Main Street Fund,” to protect your confidentiality. When you recommend a grant through the online Fundholder Portal, you may elect to include or omit the name of your fund that accompanies the payment to the nonprofit, as well as any contact info you wish to share or not. Keep in mind, fund of interest vs general unrestricted.
In the case of a donor advised fund, you manage your fund’s grantmaking activities. You may choose to designate your spouse or partner, your children, other family members, or a friend as additional primary advisors to your fund. And you may engage future generations by naming successor advisors.
Fund grant recommendations can be made to qualifying charitable organizations. The foundation verifies the nonprofit status and charitable mission of the recommended organization. The minimum grant is $100.
Grants may be made to public charities; that is organizations described in section 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(3); and to private operating foundations (not corporate foundations). Grants may also be made to units of government for public purposes. This includes Native American tribal governments.
The IRS does place some limitations on grants from Donor Advised Funds. This type of fund cannot fulfill any pledges you may have made. Similarly, since you will have already received a full deduction for the amount contributed to your fund, donor advised funds cannot be used for tickets to events such as fundraising events, galas, or for memberships that include any direct benefits in return. Finally, distributions cannot go to individuals. In addition, Community Foundation will not make grants to organizations known to support, or who engage in activities, or who publish language that incites or engages in violence, intimidation, harassment, threats, or defamation targeting an individual or group based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical or mental ability. These activities are contrary to Community Foundation’s mission and its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Once you have established a fund, you may make your recommendations through our online Fundholder Portal. You can also email us with a request describing your wishes in writing for us to process on your behalf. Donors may recommend grants that provide general support, or specifically earmark funds for certain initiatives managed by a nonprofit. Grants may be made to nonprofits in honor or memory of someone you wish to acknowledge. Donor advised fund distributions are referred to as “grants.” Grant checks are accompanied by a transmittal letter identifying the donor advised fund by name (unless anonymity has been specified). The letter also mentions that a charitable tax acknowledgment is not necessary to send.
While some donors are well-informed about the causes and organizations they wish to support, others avail themselves of our expertise in identifying priority needs and vetted organizations in Summit County, UT. We can help you design a personalized giving plan and assist you in maximizing the impact of your philanthropy. Foundation donors receive our newsletters and annual reports that highlight timely issues and community challenges and opportunities. Donors are invited to foundation events, nonprofit educational forums, grantee site visits, and more.
The Community Foundation’s funds are professionally managed and overseen by the Investment & Finance Committee and Board of Directors. Our overall investment strategy is to provide prudent management of invested capital while producing a reasonable return for grantmaking and fund growth. When you establish a donor advised fund, you can choose from several investment allocation strategies, including short-term, mid-term, and long-term pools.
You will receive quarterly statements of your fund’s activity, available in the Fundholder Portal, six weeks after each quarter’s close. You may also access your fund’s monthly statements online, view your fund balance, the status of your grants, and your giving history.
We offer three pools: The short-term pool is invested in our savings account, the mid-term pool is invested in fixed income and cash, and the long-term pool is invested in Equities (U.S. Large Cap and EAFE), fixed income, and cash.
There is no capital gains tax on assets placed into a donor advised fund.
The responsibility of filing your donor advised fund return falls on Park City Community Foundation because we manage the fund.
Fund advisors will receive a letter of tax acknowledgment from Park City Community Foundation each time they make a contribution to their fund. This letter can be included in your personal tax return.