Comparison of Donor Advised Funds and Private Foundations

Consider the advantages of working through the North Carolina Community Foundation to accomplish your charitable goals 

Establishment and operation


Donor-Advised Fund at the NCCF

Private Foundation

Recommended size

$25,000 minimum, as of July 1

$10 million recommended minimum to justify operating costs

Start-up and initial costs


All legal, accounting and filing fees

Ongoing administration and annual costs

1% annual fee (may be negotiated favorably for funds above $1 million)

All costs (legal, accounting, payroll, audit) are incurred by private foundation

Tax considerations

Excise taxes


Subject to 1-2% annually

Tax status and filings

Qualifies under NCCF’s public charity status; no filing necessary

Must file for private foundation tax-exempt status

Excise taxes


Subject to 1-2% annually

Tax-deductibility of gifts


Appreciated stock (held more than one year)

Real estate and closely held stock (held more than one year)

Deduction up to 60% of adjusted gross income

Fair market value up to 30% of adjusted gross income

Fair market value up to 30% of adjusted gross income

Deduction limited to 30% of adjusted gross income

Fair market value up to 20% of adjusted gross income

Cost basis up to 20% of adjusted gross income.

Grantmaking support and requirements 

Grantmaking support

NCCF provides due diligence review of grantees recommended by donor.

Research on specific non-profits provided upon request.

Donor must establish and oversee all evaluation, monitoring and reporting procedures.

Payout requirements

None. Grant recommendations of 5% recommended but no government-required payout

Annual minimum payout of 5% of assets required (subject to penalty on undistributed amount)

Investment management


Fund assets professionally invested through NCCF. Donor may choose from selection of NCCF asset managers.

Must secure and oversee own investments. 

Investment management fees the responsibility of the private foundation

Donor involvement and privacy

Donor involvement

Donor recommends grants to qualified nonprofits. Grants are approved by NCCF.

Donor appoints initial board of a nonprofit corporation.  Board controls investment and grantmaking.

Privacy and confidentiality

Fund may be named or anonymous.  Contributions, assets and grants may be kept confidential.

Detailed public disclosure annually from posting of IRS 990PF, which makes public all assets and grants.

If you want to discuss the advantages of a community foundation structure vs. a private foundation, contact Beth Boney Jenkins.

Kathryn Roebuck Holding, J.D.
Director of Development
(919) 256-6932
To begin
Beth Boney Jenkins
Regional Director of Development, East
(910) 782-2895
For donors in eastern counties
Megan Lynch Ellis
Regional Director of Development, West
(828) 355-4306
For donors in western counties
Mary Morgan, J.D.
Philanthropy Counsel
(919) 256-6909
For attorneys