Donor Advised Funds: Tools for Community Change
Last month, the City of New York and its Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity announced the expansion of the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program — an initiative that opens college savings accounts for public school students and contributes a minimum of $100 into each account — to reach all public school kindergarten students beginning in the 2021/22 school year. As part of the City of New York’s Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan, the City will contribute $15 million annually through the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program to invest in universal 529 savings accounts for every public-school child through 2025.
This expansion was welcome news to Lisa Cowan and Sarah Williams, founders of the College Opportunity Fund — a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) at Brooklyn Community Foundation — as their fund had been an early investor in NYC Kids RISE’s Queens pilot program:
"Together with parents in Brooklyn and across the country, we were (and still are!) eager to do something concrete and immediate to address the inequities in college access. We were able to quickly and easily set up a fund to move resources to stellar organizations working to address this issue, because Brooklyn Community Foundation handled the administration and donor management. While there is still so much to be done to help more young people have access to college, we are thrilled at the results of the strategies we bet on early and hope other parents will continue to join us."
Economic justice is racial justice — and a Donor Advised Fund is a unique tool that can help mobilize critical resources to support grassroots nonprofits at the forefront of lasting social change.
As demonstrated by the College Opportunity Fund’s support of the Save for College Program, Donor Advised Funds have vast potential as vehicles for investing in innovative systemic change in the early stages of development when that investment is most critical. The nature of Donor Advised Funds as “ready-made” giving vehicles allow fund advisors to invest in nonprofits at their own pace, and to move capital where it’s needed most.
Donor advisors of funds at Brooklyn Community Foundation benefit from our long-standing relationships in the borough’s nonprofit landscape and our in-depth knowledge of racial equity and justice. Our donor services team is ready and available to provide philanthropic advising to our donor advisors, helping them reach their charitable goals in Brooklyn and beyond.
About Donor Advised Funds at Brooklyn Community Foundation
A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a charitable investment account through which your assets have the potential to grow tax-free. Created with a single tax-deductible donation of cash, stock, or real estate, you can name your fund and give at your own pace — we manage the rest. By opening a Donor Advised Fund at Brooklyn Community Foundation, you can support the charities you care about in Brooklyn, or any domestic nonprofit of your choice. Establishing a fund is easy and can be set up in less than a week.
Contact Donor Services to learn more:
Donor Services Manager
About the College Opportunity Fund at Brooklyn Community Foundation
Established in 2019 through donations from New York City parents in response to the national college admissions scandal, the College Opportunity Fund is a Donor Advised Fund at Brooklyn Community Foundation that supports organizations and initiatives aimed at expanding college access for low-income families as well as advocating for systemic change. If you would like to learn more about the College Opportunity Fund, please email Lisa Cowan at firstname.lastname@example.org.