In our backyard, there are two families who are likely to never meet.  The first just lost the transmission in their car and depend upon three jobs to make ends meet. Thankfully, there are a number of nonprofit organizations that will help them stretch their dollars until they are back on the feet.  The other family has been fortunate here in Loudoun County. They are eager to give back.

As President/CEO of the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, my job brings me into contact with both. We often say that our work is to “connect donors who care with causes that matter.” It is what inspires our community service campaign. It is what makes Loudoun County such a great place to grow up and grow old.

We have a number of fund “instruments” to help our donors fulfill their charitable vision.  One of the most well-known, donor advised funds or DAFs, are a philanthropic tool used by many different entities.  In our organization, they play an important role in our community.

The fact is, over our 19 years serving Loudoun County, we have developed deep expertise in our nonprofit landscape and keen understanding of our community’s needs. DAFs allow us to work directly with caring individuals who seek to philanthropically invest in our community to ensure their gifts achieve the greatest good.

Donor advised funds are very nimble and flexible. This is critical when a crisis hits or unexpected opportunities arise: whether it’s advancing a newly identified need or responding to a natural disaster.  What’s more, DAFs are actively invested alongside our community endowments allowing funds to grow over time while also making grants.

DAFs teach a tradition of giving from one generation to another.  In families of modest means, gifts might start with a few thousand dollars, a gift of stock, or even real estate.

Providing administration of funds like these is an honor with big responsibilities.  That’s why National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, which we apply, dictate rigorous systems qualifications, strict measures for accountability, and transparency in giving.  This includes clearly defined policies for DAF grant distribution and fund activity to ensure funds are doing good.

At the end of the day, our community’s greatest strength is the bridge between you and your neighbors. That’s how families from different walks of life help and influence each other—even if they never meet.  No matter what, we’re honored to be the connection between them for generations to come.