Donor Advised Funds

Donor advised funds are personal charitable accounts held at Headwaters that allow donors with wealth to make direct grant recommendations to local or national nonprofit organizations. Contributions to the accounts are tax-deductible, and grants can be recommended from the fund by the donor at any time throughout the year. There are no legal costs to establish a fund. 

Headwaters hosts around two dozen donor advised funds (DAFs) with values-aligned donors and families. We have a nontraditional approach to the work and encourage the redistribution of wealth and power through our DAF programming. For example, we do not invest the funds to grow them. Instead, it’s expected that within a year of a donor depositing funds, Headwaters will grant them out to organizations doing movement work. A majority of Headwaters DAFs holders spend down over 80% of their deposited DAF dollars within a year.  

Here’s a high-level summary of what’s required to establish a Headwaters DAF: 

  • $10,000 minimum investment. 
  • 1% administrative fee as an upfront payment on the initial investment to establish a Headwaters DAF. 
  • Headwaters will assess a fee of 1 % (or $250 whichever is greater) on all contributions made after the initial deposit to your DAF. 
  • Grants distributed must be a minimum of $500 and be value-aligned with Headwaters to c3 organizations only (no c4 and no gifts to individuals). 
  • Giving must occur in-state or nationally, no international grants. 

Other benefits to opening a Headwaters donor advised fund include the support from an experienced Headwaters staff member who can help connect you to justice-focused organizations you care about.  

To learn more, contact Director of Individual Giving, Mary Delorié at