Combine generosity with ease, bespoke service and tax efficiency. Establish a Donor Advised Fund for as little as $1,800.

A Donor Advised Fund is a personal charitable account for your use to support the non-profit organizations and causes that you care about. A Donor Advised Fund at JCF comes with convenient grantmaking and recordkeeping online, by phone or in-person as well as access to donor education and philanthropic consulting to maximize your impact.

When you contribute cash, securities or other assets you may receive an immediate tax deduction. You can then support nonprofits of your choice anytime in the future. By holding a fund with the Jewish Community Foundation, you are also supporting our work to build the secular and Jewish communities.

Want To Learn More About Creating a Donor Advised Fund?

Ollie Benn,
Director of Philanthropy and Social Impact


Sarah Schatz,
Manager, Philanthropy and Social Impact


Advantages of a Donor Advised Fund with JCF
Get Started

Open Your Donor Advised Fund with the Jewish Community Foundation

Establishing a fund is easy. Complete this form online or print, complete, scan and email to Ollie Benn. Or mail to the Jewish Community Foundation, 4950 Murphy Canyon Road, San Diego, 92123.

Learn About Your Donor Advised Fund Investment Options

While your funds are held at JCF, you have many investment choices, including fully diversified pools with long-term horizons, cash for your short-term giving needs, and impact investing opportunities.

What is a Donor Advised Fund?

View this two-minute video to learn more about donor advised funds at the Jewish Community Foundation.

Comparing Donor Advised Funds and Private Foundations
Donor Advised FundsPrivate Foundations
ControlDonor may advise JCF to grant to qualified nonprofit groups, subject to approval. Multiple in­vestment options available, overseen by JCF’s investment committee.Donor retains maximum control of board, investments and grantmaking.
Tax DeductibilityFair market value for generally all assets held over one year. Deductibility. Higher AGI limits for public charities apply.Fair market value for cash and publicly traded securities held over one year. Deductibility limited to cost basis (or FMV if lower) for privately held investments. Lower Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limits apply.
Minimum Payout RequirementNone5% Annually
Investment Flexibility Donors may choose from several professionally managed investment "pools" designed to meet a broad variety of philanthropic objectives.Can direct foundation investments with broad discretion.
ContinuityDonor may name successor advisor(s) to his/her fund.Can continue to future generations.
GrantmakingJCF’s professional staff provides as much or as little advice as needed. Grants may only be made to IRS qualified public charities. Grants not limited to IRS approved charitable organizations, e.g. can support individuals for travel and study, subject to IRS guidelines. Must create and support grantmaking and monitoring systems.
AdministrationNothing required of donor. JCF does all of the reporting. Administration is pooled for a modest annual fee.Significant legal and accounting fees every year; filing fees and annual tax return are required.
PrivacyAggregate reporting allows complete anonymity; donor’s name not attached to fund’s grantmaking or reporting, if desired. Alternately, donor’s name can feature prominently in fund’s name and grantmaking if donor wishes.Income, grants, Board names and staff salaries reported to the public annually, with donor’s name.
Excise TaxesNoneUp to 2% of annual investment income.
StaffAccess to JCF staff (for investment, grantmaking expertise).Can employ family members.
Start-up TimeframeImmediate – in one day.Months for IRS approval.
Start-up CostsNoneSignificant legal and accounting fees.
Ongoing Costs Fund pays modest annual fee to JCF for pooled administration and investment management.May be significant to prepare and file tax return and other documentation.
Through JCF, I have leveraged time, treasure and talent to impact the community more effectively than I could on my own.

Jeff SilbermanFoundation Fund holder since 2005

I'm so grateful to have JCF as a thought partner. Through their staff, webinars, and newsletters I've learned so much about philanthropy and issues affecting our community.

Aviva PaleyFoundation Fund holder since 2018

Working with JCF has really informed me into how I can diversify an area that I am really interested in.

Bobbie GilbertFoundation Fund holder since 2012

Philanthropy Terms And Language

Here are some helpful terms and definitions to better understand the Language of Philanthropy.


The desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.


Section of the Internal Revenue Code that designates an organization as charitable and tax-exempt. Organizations qualifying under this section include religious, educational, charitable, amateur athletic, scientific or literary groups, organizations testing for public safety or organizations involved in prevention of cruelty to children or animals.

Strategic Philanthropy

Intentional direction of charitable dollars with knowledge of expected results, greatest impact and leverage of dollars with specific goals in mind.

Giving Circle

A giving circle is a form of participatory philanthropy where groups of individuals donate their own money or time to a pooled fund, decide together where to give these away to charity or community projects, and, in doing so, seek to increase their awareness of and engagement in the issues covered by the charity or community project.

Donor Advised Fund

An individual charitable account that helps make giving easier and more meaningful. The donor(s) makes a donation to establish the fund and receives an immediate tax deduction to the full extent allowed for gifts to a public charity. Then, the donor(s) retains the privilege of recommending grants at any time in the future to the causes that he or she values most.


Through a will or trust. This is the most popular planned giving method and the simplest.

Charitable Gift Annuity

A simple contract between you and the Foundation in which you make an irrevocable gift of cash or securities in exchange for guaranteed payments for life. Part of the payments is tax-free. After your lifetime, your chosen organization(s) receives the remainder of the funds.

Charitable Lead Trust

A trust is established with your attorney. Receive an income tax deduction upon creation, provide your favorite organization income for a fixed term and the remaining assets return to you or other named family members.

Charitable Remainder Trust

A trust established with your attorney that provides you with lifetime income and an income tax deduction upon creation. The remainder of the trust is distributed to your favorite organization(s). Useful for complex assets, such as real estate.

Endowment Fund

A permanent fund that supports your favorite organization(s) in perpetuity. Distributes a fixed percentage of the fund to your chosen organization(s) each year.

Life Insurance

Name your favorite organization(s) or the Foundation as partial or sole beneficiary of your policy. Leverage your giving by naming a new policy or transferring an existing policy to the Foundation to be designated to your favorite organization(s). You may receive an immediate and future income tax deduction for the premiums paid or value of the transferred policy.

Retirement Plan/IRA Assets

Most types of retirement plans are heavily taxed at death so they are advantageous assets for giving. Name your favorite organization(s) or the Foundation as beneficiary while avoiding income and estate tax for your heirs.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most commonly-asked questions.

What is a Donor Advised Fund?

A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a fund you establish and name at the Jewish Community Foundation. You, or anyone you designate, can recommend grants from the fund to your favorite charitable organizations in the general or Jewish community.

How does it work?

Transfer assets of any kind (cash, securities, closely-held stock, businesses, insurance, real estate, among others) into the fund. You recommend the charitable organizations to receive grants on your time schedule. The Foundation processes the grants, maintains the records and provides you with simple receipts and statements for tax reporting purposes.

Are there tax advantages?

Each time you deposit assets into your fund, you may receive an immediate charitable tax deduction for the maximum allowable for gifts to a public charity. For gifts of long-term appreciated property, you may avoid paying capital gains tax.

How are the assets managed?

You may choose one of the Foundation’s five investment pool options. The investment earnings are credited to the DAF, giving you more to contribute to the community. The Foundation’s Investment Committee, which consists of seasoned professionals and investors, oversees the pools with the Foundation’s Investment Consultant, Mercer.

How does the fund help organizations I am interested in?

Your grants reflect your interests and priorities. Since 1967, JCF DAFs have granted over $1.8 billion to address Jewish and general needs locally, nationally, and abroad.

Who receives the investment earnings?

All investment earnings are credited to the donor advised fund, giving you more to give away to the community.

Can I set up the fund in any name I want?

Yes. You select the name of the fund. Use your own name or another name that is meaningful to you. The fund can also be anonymous.

How is a foundation DAF different from other DAFs?

Our experience and expertise in Jewish and general community philanthropy makes your philanthropic experience easy, relevant, fulfilling and sustaining. The Foundation staff research organizations that match your areas of concern and evaluate programs and organizations on an ongoing basis.

What are the fees?

The Fund will be charged an annual fee of 1.5% of the Fund balance, payable monthly, to cover the cost of administration, with a minimum annual fee of $300, charged at $25 per month. For higher balances, a sliding fee scale is used. These fees are subject to change at any time by JCF’s Board of Directors.

In addition to the services provided to administer your DAF, the fee supports youth philanthropy initiatives, the Endowment Leadership Institute and Governance Leadership Institute for local Jewish non-profits, the Book of Life, and other important community programming. Please log-in to your fund online for full details.

How can I access online information about a fund?

The Foundation offers 24-hour online access to information about individual Donor Advised Funds through our website. This information is confidential and only available to those who have established a DAF.

I've got a busy schedule. How will a DAF help me?

Simplified recordkeeping, as well as centralized donation and grant-making, reduce your time involved in philanthropy. You can add to your fund and recommend grants from the fund at your convenience, avoiding the year-end pressure of making multiple charitable gifts. You may recommend as many grants as you wish throughout the year.

Are these funds only for the rich?

That is a common misconception. A DAF can be established with as little as $1,800 and there is no minimum balance requirement. The minimum amount for a grant is $100. Sixty percent of the Foundation’s awarded grants are between $100 and $1,000.

Should I have my professional advisor talk to you about this?

Although Foundation DAFs are very easy for donors to handle directly, if you prefer to have us work with your accountant, attorney, or other professional advisors, we would be happy to do so.

How often are grants processed?

Grants are processed weekly. Grant recommendations are due by Sunday at midnight with checks to organizations mailed the following Friday.

What types of payments are not eligible for grants from the fund?

The Foundation cannot honor the following recommendations from a donor advised fund:

  • Legally Binding Pledges: By law, the Foundation cannot honor legally binding pledges that you have made to an organization since this is considered a personal obligation. The Foundation can honor solicitation requests.
  • Tuition: No form of tuition, or enrollment fees for extracurricular activities, can be paid from the fund.
  • Non-deductible Portion of Membership or Tickets: The Foundation can only distribute the charitable portion of memberships and tickets to events from your fund. We will gladly include your personal check for the non-deductible portion with our check and letter sent to the organization.
  • Grant Intended for the Benefit of One Named Individual: The Foundation cannot honor recommendations for grants that will benefit one named individual. Grants can be designated for funds being raised by a particular individual for an event.

Are there rules require me to grant a certain amount from my DAF within a specific timeframe?

Currently, there are no rules, or state or federal regulations, that require donor advised funds to grant a minimum amount during a specific period. However, we are aware of ongoing discussions at both the state and federal levels to impose minimum granting requirements on donor advised fundholders.

  • Potential future regulation: One commonly considered potential regulation would hold donor advised funds to the same requirements as private foundations which are required to grant out 5% of their principal annually. Analogously, donor advised fundholders may be required to grant 5% of the average balance in their fund each year or based on an average balance calculated over several years. We expect any new regulations to provide ample notice to permit donors to plan and implement their grants thoughtfully.
  • JCF encourages active granting: At JCF, we actively encourage donors to make grants to support causes that are meaningful to them. JCF provides granting information and opportunities to donors regularly. Staff at JCF are also always available to consult with donors on their grantmaking, to help articulate philanthropic plans and strategies, provide research, and arrange site visits and meetings with potential grantees, etc.
  • How to prepare: While there are currently no governmental regulations, JCF will contact you if we see that you have not made a grant in more than one year. After three years, we will make every effort to contact you to encourage you to make a grant; however, if we are unable to reach you, we reserve the right to make a grant on your behalf based on your granting history.
  • Long-term impact: If you are building up the balance of your donor advised fund to enable you to make a larger grant for greater impact at some point in the future, we suggest that you invest your donor advised fund assets in one of our longer-term investment pools. These pools are designed to enable you to grant 5% of your assets annually, adjusted for inflation. JCF will work with you on an individual basis to help you both comply with existing and new regulations and meet your short and long-term philanthropic goals.

What are the grant guidelines?

The Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego’s (JCF’s) mission is to promote philanthropy through meaningful partnerships with donors and community organizations in achieving charitable goals; to increase current and future support for a vibrant and secure Jewish and general community in San Diego, Israel and around the world. JCF’s core values include Tzedakah (justice), Dor l’dor (generation to generation), Kavod (respect), Torah (learning), and Derech Eretz (way of the land).

Grants from JCF donor advised funds reflect the diverse interests, priorities, and passions of our fund advisors. Acting as a conduit for our donors’ philanthropy, grants from JCF donor advised funds do not necessarily reflect an endorsement of any one particular organization or its views. JCF researches all organizations to ensure their nonprofit tax status is current with the IRS. Donors who have supported an organization within the past 24 months will be advised if that organization’s nonprofit status has been designated as inactive or revoked. JCF also researches the mission and programs of grantees to verify that the organization’s mission aligns with JCF’s broad charitable guidelines.

The JCF does not fund organizations that through their mission or activities:

  1. Engage in active and/or express anti-Semitism, bigotry, violence or terrorist activities;
  2. Actively seek to proselytize Jews away from Judaism; or
  3. Expressly seek the destruction of the State of Israel