Open a Donor Advised Fund

A donor advised fund is a philanthropic partnership between Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment and the donor. In developing this relationship and administering a donor advised fund, the Foundation’s goal is to help the donor define, implement and realize their own unique philanthropic vision. Using parameters developed in consultation with the donor, the Foundation develops funding recommendations tailored to each donor’s personal interests. Donors receive an annual report detailing the status of their fund, and outlining any grant awards or other funds disbursed, as well as administrative costs.

Some donors prefer to use the Foundation as their “checkbook,” making a single annual donation and asking Rose Foundation to execute a series of sub-grants. In other cases, the Foundation partners with donors to build a permanent endowment, often in memory of a loved one. In either case, donors can take advantage of our experience and flexibility in designing a fund that meets their own unique needs.

In any donor advised fund, and as required by charitable law, Rose Foundation’s Board of Directors must retain ultimate discretion over final grant decisions.

Strategic Grantmaking

Our donor advised program has disbursed approximately $2 million. Donor advised grants have included:

  • Encouraging improvements in stormwater treatment as part of the redevelopment along San Francisco’s waterfront.
  • Supporting environmental and general education programs in local schools.
  • Helping provide free scientific experts to nonprofit environmental organizations.
  • Supporting arts and peace organizations.

Structured Grantmaking Process

Applicants for grants from donor advised funds are required to provide the Foundation with a written workplan and budget, and to provide follow-up reports documenting activities funded by the grant and evaluating progress toward project goals. This allows Rose to hold projects accountable for the work we fund, and helps donors evaluate the impact of their support. Depending on the donor’s wishes, we can either let the grantees know who provided their funding or keep the ultimate funding source confidential.

To Establish a Donor Advised Fund

To establish a donor advised fund, or to explore the potential options, please contact:

Tim Little, Executive Director
510-658-0702 ext. 301
tlittle[AT] (replace [AT] with @)

Donor Advised Funds Available at Rose Foundation

Annual Funds

In a donor advised annual fund, Rose Foundation serves as the donor’s charitable checkbook, helping the donor move some or all of their donations into one, easy-to-manage fund. Some donors make a single, fully-deductible contribution to the Foundation each year. Others prefer to grow their fund over time with a series of payments. In either case, making gifts in the form of appreciated securities may significantly increase tax benefits. To defray the costs related to grant administration, accounting and overhead, the Foundation charges a one-time 6% fee on these funds upon receipt of the donation. No annual fees are charged on these funds.

Depending on a donor’s wishes, the Foundation can move quickly to execute a series of grants to a selected charity or charities, or hold the funds in trust to allow time for more thoughtful consideration. In either case, IRS regulations require that the donor (or donor’s family) does not receive benefits from the grants.

Permanently Endowed Funds

In a permanently endowed fund, the Foundation’s goal is to maintain and grow the corpus donation while using annual earnings to support grants to charities close to the donor’s heart. The Foundation places donor advised endowments in a separate named account, and all interest and earnings accrue to the endowment. The Foundation charges an annual management fee of 2%. Endowments require a minimum of $10,000 to start. Permanent endowments are managed in accordance with high standards of financial prudence plus consideration of environmental and social criteria. We are pleased to report that the Foundation’s endowments enjoy returns which match those of the broad market indices, while the weight of the corpus supports  Rose Foundation’s overall mission.


Prizes are annual cash awards recognizing outstanding accomplishments in a field of environmental endeavor close to the prize founder’s heart. In many cases, the prize founder chairs an advisory committee which assists in selecting the recipient organization. The Foundation produces and distributes application materials, and provides pre-screening and administrative support to the advisory committee.

Supporting Charities Over Time

Rose Foundation can also maintain an endowment on behalf of a designated charity, or set of charities, and make annual support donations. In these types of funds, a donor is able to provide for the permanent support of their favorite charities, ensuring that their gift will meet future, as well as present, needs. This option may be appropriate when the designated beneficiary does not have experience in managing a large donation, or when the donor wants to establish an oversight mechanism to ensure that the future use of the funds stays true to the original intent.

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