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How Big Is the Christian Donor Advised Fund World?

How Big Is the Christian Donor Advised Fund World?

by Bill High

There are over 750 community foundations that sponsor donor advised funds around the United States, according to the Council on Foundations. Surprisingly, there are 1,680 community foundations 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.

In its 2019 Donor Advised Fund Report, the National Philanthropic Trust tells us that there are more than 728,500 donor advised fund accounts around the United States. By the end of 2018, donor advised funds held $121.42 billion in assets. In contrast to private foundations, which are only required to make a 5% minimum distribution of assets each year, 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, South Carolina

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 (when last calculated a couple years ago), represents between 3% and 4% 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.


Check out other awesome posts related to Christians, investing and charitable giving!


Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

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Published May 28, 2018

Topics: Giving Trends

Charitable GivingChristian PhilanthropyDonor Advised FundsFoundationsThe Signatry

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