The Importance of DAFs in this Crisis

April 30, 2020

Do you have a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)?  If so, you are one of a very important group of people who can do something of vital importance for our nation in the COVID-19 crisis.  The contributions to your DAF account are in place and waiting to be used as a life ring to non-profits and those they serve who are hardest hit by the pandemic.

This is a moment of reckoning for our country and for the philanthropic community. Donor Advised Funds hold approximately $120 billion that could be put to good purpose at a point in time when non-profits’ very survival is at stake. 

As pointed out in the Chronicle of Philanthropy this week:

“The pandemic is an existential crisis that is likely to destroy many of the charitable institutions that knit together services and culture in our communities… Ironically, and tragically, many of these nonprofits are the very organizations that provide the services that are most needed at a time of national emergency.” (Alan M. Cantor)

Sponsoring organizations – Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab, to name some of the biggest – are encouraging DAF donors to give more during the COVID-19 crisis. And we hope that donors will listen, and act swiftly. Some people may be feeling anxious about their investments – understandably – but in this climate, Donor Advised Funds are ready, accessible, and could make a life-saving difference for many organizations and the people they serve. At FareStart, we have pivoted to serving thousands of emergency meals every day to vulnerable people in our region who would otherwise go hungry, and to helping like organizations around the country do the same via our national program. We will likewise need significantly more financial support to recover, restart our training programs, and help the surge of unemployed and destitute people who will come to our doors in the wake of this catastrophe.

We are trusting our supporters at all levels to pivot with us, to step up and help us meet the present and future need, as it is vast. If you are fortunate to have a DAF, please consider recommending a grant to FareStart, and to other charities that you care about, today. 

From now through May 6, you can also pledge your DAF gift via GiveBIG Washington 2020 if you would like to participate in this community-wide giving event.  Learn how at However, FareStart welcomes DAF donations at any time. 

One final note:  Have you named a successor to your DAF?  For the sake of your legacy, you should be aware that your DAF holdings may revert to the sponsoring organization’s general funds unless you specify a successor to make grant-making recommendations in the next generation or leave specific instructions for fund disbursement.  

Thank you for your important partnership in FareStart’s mission.  Together we can continue to disrupt poverty, transform lives and nourish our community for many years to come.