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Survey: 2020 DAF payouts to nonprofits increased by $2 billion in 2020

Written on Mar 9, 2021

Funders to community foundations in the U.S. released more than $6.7 billion from their donor-advised funds (DAFs) to nonprofits in 2020, up from $4.75 billion in 2019, according to a survey of 84 community foundations.

The survey by the Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative only covered community foundations, which work in defined geographic areas.

The funds were released in response to the needs of communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients included local nonprofits that provide relief to families dealing with food insecurity, housing uncertainty, lost income and other issues.

Just as the distributions increased year-over-year, contributions and other revenue enhancement to community DAFs were up as well, jumping from $6.19 billion in 2019 to $7.7 billion in 2020, according to the survey.

Not all of that reflects donor contributions. The overall DAF holdings increase as previously held assets appreciate. The increase in DAF contributions might reflect 2020 having been a boom year for investments, even if a tight labor market meant funders weren’t able to contribute as much to their DAFs as they would have liked. If an increase in overall DAF holdings is a leading indicator, this could mean 2021 will see additional boosts in distribution.

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