What are the differences between a donor-advised fund at a commercial financial institution, such as Fidelity or Vanguard, and a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation of Howard County?

Some of the major financial institutions have created separate nonprofit foundations and are now offering donor-advised funds. While they offer the same tax deductibility as a fund at CFHoCo, donor-advised funds housed at the Foundation are relationship- and service-based. In contrast, commercial donor-advised funds are transaction-based. With our expertise, we make donors aware of local needs and local opportunities, enabling us to create giving strategies that reflect the donors’ interests.

Further, we can accept the full range of gift opportunities, while commercial funds tend to be limited to cash and publicly-traded securities.

Donors to the Community Foundation of Howard County become part of a “community of donors” recognized in our annual report. Commercial funds are not community-based. Fees charged by the Foundation are recycled back into the community to encourage more philanthropy. Fees charged by commercial funds are plowed back into those financial institutions.