How Donor-Advised Funds Support the Needs of Rural Communities

Philanthropy Roundtable’s Free to Give campaign elevates the voices of everyday Americans who have dedicated their careers to supporting those in need. Their work is made possible by the freedom of all Americans to give to the causes and communities they care about.

Community foundations serve an essential function in rural America, providing critical funding to nonprofits that solve challenging problems and improve countless lives.

In a new Philanthropy Roundtable video, Claudia Cummings, president and CEO of Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, says that donor-advised funds are an important vehicle for these foundations to help individuals give back to their communities.

“In Indiana, we have a community foundation in every one of our 92 counties, making us the most community foundation-intensive state in the country,” said Cummings. “And often, community foundations hold numerous donor-advised funds on behalf of ordinary citizens.”

Philanthropy Roundtable believes that all Americans—no matter their politics, race, religion or class—should have the freedom to give to the causes and communities they care about most. DAFs are an effective tool for donors of all income levels to give freely and strategically.

Cummings notes that farmers and small business owners can establish donor-advised funds, and those funds are used to make donations that improve their communities. But if lawmakers add new burdensome regulations to DAFs, that will make it more challenging to get needed funding into rural communities.

“As administrators of donor-advised funds and many other types of philanthropic vehicles, [community foundations] need to be nimble,” she said. “Oftentimes they have two, maybe three staff people, sometimes part time, and regulatory burdens that are placed upon them could be catastrophic to their ability to be effective.”

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