Panel + Q&A (*Maximum 4 Panelists)

Unlocking Donor-Advised Funds for Greater Good: Myths of Impact Investing through DAFs

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Donor Advised funds (DAFs) represent a significant and growing pool of capital, now totaling $120B.  However, approximately 80% of DAF assets are still invested passively and do not immediately fulfill their charitable purpose.  Impact investing has increasingly been lifted up as a promising means to drive social progress through DAFs sustainably and at scale, yet a variety of preconceptions among donors and sponsors still limit widespread flow of DAF capital into impact investments.  But what are these preconceptions, and which — if any — are true?

Social Finance, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, conducted extensive market research to explore how to unlock donor-advised fund (DAF) capital for greater good through impact investing.  As part of this research, we conducted the largest nationwide donor survey known to-date, gathering input from nearly 300 DAF donors across 5 DAF sponsoring organizations spanning 40 states, and are continuing our market research through a series of pilots with DAF sponsors aimed at facilitating local impact-first investments.

The goal of this session is to share key learnings from our market research and pilots, using data to debunk common myths that still limit the flow of DAF capital towards impact investing.  Leveraging cutting-edge empirical data and qualitative insights, we will answer questions such as the following: 

  • Are donors truly interested in leveraging DAF capital for impact-first investments?  
  • Is demand really just among younger donors? 
  • What are donors’ preferences for impact investment returns and liquidity?  
  • How much and what kind of information do donors truly need to make impact investments?  
  • What role do investment committees and investment advisors need to play in a donor’s impact investing journey?  
  • And do impact investments ultimately detract from the capital donors deploy towards charitable grants?

In the wake of unprecedented economic fallout from COVID-19 and racial justice protests across the country, there has never been a more urgent need to re-examine the role DAF capital can play in supporting local communities in need.  Through real-time anonymized polling tools, attendees will have the opportunity to test their knowledge of DAF impact investing trends and compare their perspectives with the latest research.  A diverse panel of representatives from leading DAF sponsors will offer actionable guidance for audience members looking to unlock DAF capital for greater good.  Whether attendees are DAF sponsoring organizations, DAF donors, or social enterprises seeking DAF capital, the session will be practical, data-driven, and timely.  

Confirmed Panelists

Jackie Khor, Vice President, Social Finance

Mike Silvestri, Director of Special Projects, Social Finance

Elaine Martyn, Vice President & Managing Director, Private Donor Group, Fidelity Charitable

Tanya Shadoan, Director of Impact Investing & Philanthropy Operations, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties

Unconfirmed Panelists

Bert Feuss, Senior Vice President of Investments, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

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