Guidelines for Donor Advised Funds

The following guidelines and procedures have been established by the Pinellas Community Foundation for the acceptance and operation of named funds established by living donors in which the right to make recommendations as to the distribution of income from such funds is reserved by the donor.  These funds are referred to below as Donor Advised Funds.

These guidelines are intended to be consistent with the purposes of the Foundation, as well as in keeping with regulations on such funds issued by the United States Treasury Department.  Donor Advised Funds are subject to close regulatory scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that they are not used as private foundations.

  1. GENERAL. The Pinellas Community Foundation solicits and will accept money or property from donors for establishment of Donor Advised Funds.  Such funds provide the donor with the right to make recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Governors with respect to the distribution of income (and principal as so stated in the written instrument creating the fund) from a Donor Advised Fund.  Such Donor Advised Funds shall be component parts of the Pinellas Community Foundation subject to the terms of the governing instrument.  The Foundation encourages the donor (and others) to make additional contributions from time to time to add to previously established Donor Advised funds.
  2. RIGHT OF DONOR TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS. The donor advisor may submit written recommendations regarding the distributions to be made from such fund and may consult with the Foundation’s staff about the use of the fund for qualified charitable purposes.  These recommendations will be given careful and thoughtful attention.  It is understood, however, that these recommendations will not be binding upon the Foundation’s Board of Governors, which legally must retain final responsibility for all distributions made by the Foundation.
    1. Grants may not be used to satisfy a personal or pre-existing pledge made to a charity by the donor, advisor or related party.
    2. Federal legislation prohibits a donor-advised fund from making grants, loans, compensation or similar payments (including expense reimbursements) to donors, advisors or related parties.  Nor shall any related party receive more than “incidental benefit” from a fund or from any grant recipient receiving a distribution from the fund.    Thus, grants from donor-advised funds may not be used to pay for anything that might be perceived as a material benefit to the donor, advisor or related party – including dinner tickets, membership fees, golf fees, admission tickets or other gifts.  If sponsorship of a fundraising event includes a material benefit, a grant from a donor-advised fund cannot be used for this purpose.  Further, the IRS has taken the position that the charitable and non-charitable portion of a ticket are inseparable and the donor-advisor cannot correct the private benefit problem by offering to pick up the “non-charitable” portion of the ticket.  Community foundation grants must be entirely for charitable purposes.
  4. REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF RECOMMENDATIONS BY FOUNDATION. Recommendations made by the donor will, in each case, be evaluated independently by the Foundation’s staff to determine if the recommendations are consistent with the purposes of the Foundation and meet the needs of the community as identified by the Foundation’s Board of Governors.Grant distributions from Donor Advised Funds will be made only after formal consideration and approval by the Foundation’s Board of Governors.
  5. DISTRIBUTIONS FROM FUND. Unless otherwise specified in the written instrument creating a Donor Advised Fund, each such Fund will be considered an endowment fund within the Pinellas Community Foundation with grant distributions made only from the net income available for distribution.  As a general rule, income earned in each fund will be distributed annually and will not be accumulated for more than one year.  Donors may also elect to have some or all of the net income generated by the Donor Advised fund added to the Fund’s principal.  If a donor advisor has not submitted recommendations within a 25-month period, the Foundation’s Board of Governors will allocate the income from such funds according to its perceptions of the donor’s intent and community needs.
  6. DESIGNATION OF ADVISORS. The privilege to make recommendations shall be extended to donors and their designees, subject to the following limitation:  Ordinarily, and unless otherwise specified in the agreement establishing the donor advised fund, if an individual establishes a Donor Advised Fund, the privilege of making recommendations is limited to the donor, and , if specified by the donor, his or her spouse.

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