I am pleased to share some great news regarding the generosity of our community in 2022. Last year grants and scholarship payments from all funds at your Community Foundation totaled $6.3 million, an increase of 7 percent compared to 2021. With some new scholarship funds added, we granted scholarships totaling $740,000, an increase of 38 percent compared to 2021. And our 300 families who have Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) also achieved a new record with grants totaling $3.2 million, an increase of 20 percent compared to 2021.

The 20 percent increase in grants made from Donor Advised Funds to hundreds of nonprofits in our community is the most gratifying number for me. As you are aware, the stock market in 2022 had one of its worst years, with the S&P 500 down 19.4 percent. The contributions that our Donor Advised Fund families make into their funds are invested in the stock market. So even while they saw the balance in their Donor Advised Fund decline because of the market losses, they continued to generously make grants from their fund to their favorite nonprofits, increasing those grants by 20 percent. While some families may need to decrease their giving in a volatile market, people with Donor Advised Funds have already committed these funds to support charities and continue to make their grants regardless of the market’s ups and downs.

DAFs have gained popularity over the last ten years. In past economic downturns, we have seen declines in giving, and these are the times when charities are usually in the most need of funding. However, as the popularity of DAFs grew over the years, people have begun to realize that having a DAF available when the markets are a bit topsy-turvy can be a real benefit. When you establish a Donor Advised Fund or make a donation into your fund, you receive a tax benefit in that year. Donors can then choose when to pay out those funds; they have complete flexibility in timing.

A DAF allows donors to put money into their fund, grow it over time, and make donations to the charities and causes that are important to them at times that makes sense. Some donors choose to grant only the gains from their DAF to build their DAF to an endowment, creating a legacy for the future. Others choose to issue grants nearly equal to what they put into their DAF each year. When charities need immediate support, DAF fundholders can respond quickly.

DAFs are also flexible in the types of assets that can be contributed. Not every nonprofit is equipped to accept complex assets such as appreciated stock or real estate. By establishing your Donor Advised Fund with your Community Foundation, you can lessen your tax burden and have more money the giveaway to support your favorite charities and causes.

I have now been with Truman Heartland Community Foundation for 13 years. We have seen many changes over those years, but one thing that we can always count on is the generosity of our fundholders and their commitment to making an impact in our community.