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How Big Is the Christian Donor Advised Fund World?

There are approximately 750 community foundations which sponsor donor advised funds around the United States, according to the Council on Foundations. Surprisingly, there are 1,680 in 51 countries, according to the Council. The first community foundation was established in 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Since the 1990s, the commercial donor advised fund world sprang to life with Fidelity Charitable leading the way. Other providers, like Schwab, Vanguard, and other commercial institutions, followed Fidelity’s lead.

From its 2017 Donor Advised Fund Report, the National Philanthropic Trust tells us that there are nearly 285,000 donor advised fund accounts around the United States. By the end of 2016, donor advised funds held $87 billion in assets. Unlike private foundations, which only have a 5% minimum distribution, donor advised funds regularly have double digit grant rates.

It’s a big world of donor advised funds, yet there are a handful that describe themselves as Christian–not tied to a particular denomination or faith tradition. They are as follows:

The Signatry–based in Kansas City area
National Christian Foundation–based in Atlanta
Waterstone–based in Colorado Springs
Hope Christian Community Foundation–based in Memphis
In His Steps–based in Cleveland
South Carolina Christian Foundation–based in Spartanburg, SC

From an asset standpoint, the collective efforts of the Christian donor advised fund world has lots of room to grow. The collective effort, $4 billion approximately, represents less than 5% of the entire asset base.

While it’s true that Christians may use other donor advised fund entities, the reality is that there’s a dramatic opportunity for growth here.

Related articles:
Where Is Giving to the Church Going in 2018?
How the Aging Population Will Affect Giving
Why Christians Should Not Use Private Foundations

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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