Donor Advised Funds

Establishing a Donor Advised Fund

When people want to do exciting, significant giving, they turn to PVF.


We think of our donors as investors. People who see their philanthropy as investments in positive change. There are generous people all over the planet. They get excited about programs and ideas. They fund them. Things happen. But philanthropy has become more bureaucratic, and that can slow down creativity.

At PVF, we bring entrepreneurship to the business of philanthropy. To make changes, you have to take risks. We’re far from reckless but we do try new things, and donors appreciate our outside-the-box thinking. We simplify ways to identify outstanding people and great projects. We focus on solutions, not problems.

PVF works with these donors in a variety of ways:

  • making grants based on a donor’s recommendation
  • strategizing on a giving plan for a donor
  • negotiating a grant to a nonprofit agency
  • evaluating a charitable program
  • introducing donors to organizations working in their area of interest

At PVF, we recognize the potential of the philanthropic dollar and seek to maximize its impact by responding creatively to requests and community needs. When PVF staff discover outstanding people doing outstanding charitable work, we take the opportunity to develop relationships, make introductions to donors and invite donors to tackle new giving programs. Donors benefit from our philanthropic expertise, extensive knowledge of the nonprofit community and experience in turning ideas into action.

At PVF, our Donor Advised Funds are as varied as our donors. Donors’ areas of interest include education, arts and culture, the environment, health, poverty, youth, eco-travel projects and international causes.

Who PVF Works With

Individuals and Families
  • Create giving programs specifically tailored to meet your needs and interests
  • Develop goals and strategies
  • Introduce ideas and programs that make philanthropy exciting and satisfying
  • Identify little known, high-impact programs
  • Evaluate programs and assess results
  • Consult on innovative grant making
  • Provide leadership to succeeding generations in their charitable giving
Private Foundations
  • Contribute to effective charitable programs, regardless of 501(c)(3) status
  • Reach individuals and programs doing outstanding work, anywhere in the world
  • Create and implement innovative giving programs
  • Evaluate existing giving programs
  • Review and evaluate proposals
  • Reduce administrative responsibilities and staffing costs
  • Consult on pioneering grant making at the grassroots level
  • Enhance corporate visibility and goodwill through original, dynamic projects
  • Identify outstanding charitable programs and assess results
  • Develop giving programs that match business goals with employee participation and community needs
  • Negotiate contracts with non-profit agencies to maximize giving programs
  • Initiate and implement customized giving programs
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PVF offers a 100% return on donors’ money: we customize giving for donors by finding outstanding professionals and investing in them, resulting in a 100% return in satisfaction, impact and positive outcome.

Donor Profile:

Customized Grantmaking

PVF is known for customized grantmaking: matching a donor’s giving interest with an innovative program that PVF has either designed or identified for a donor.

What do a tiny two-room schoolhouse in the Sierras, a new school for girls in Tanzania, and an orphanage in Bhutan have in common? One generous family in San Mateo County and their donor advised fund at Philanthropic Ventures Foundation (PVF). PVF specializes in customizing giving for donors, and helped Peter and Jane Carpenter set up creative giving programs for each of these charitable projects spanning three continents.

  • Silver Fork School in Pollock Pines, California, has received ongoing support from the Carpenters for over eight years to benefit the students attending this compact two-room schoolhouse in the Sierras. Through a program established by PVF and supported by the Carpenters, the teachers at this rural school with few “extras” are able to obtain much-needed funding.
  • When Stanford University students started a service project in Tanzania that grew into an organization – the Bahati Education Project – the Carpenters contributed advice and donated seed money to get the project off the ground. PVF helped to set up a Fund for Bahati Education, whose mission is to support Tanzanian women through its model of secondary education rooted in service to empower young women to be successful academics and leaders. Bahati is a Swahili word for “good fortune.”
  • While traveling in Bhutan, the Carpenters were deeply impressed by the Chorten Nebu Monastic School and Orphanage, which houses and educates poor orphans. Needs range from a clean water supply  to school support. Hoping to not only support the school and orphanage themselves, but to inspire others to contribute, the Carpenters contacted PVF. Happily, the perfect vehicle for such support had already been developed at PVF, via PVF’s Generosity in Action Fund, which supports educational and health projects in communities identified by travelers to developing countries. For more info on the Bhutan project, visit:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to contact PVF?

The best way to contact PVF is by telephone, or simply click here to send an email message. You can also reach PVF by fax or mail.

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation
1222 Preservation Park Way
Oakland, California 94612-1201
Telephone: (510) 645-1890
Facsimile:  (510) 645-1892

How long does it take to set up a giving fund?

It is immediate. Just transfer the funds or stock to PVF and provide the name you would like your Fund to have. PVF will discuss with you your giving interests and goals.

Can I give anonymously?

Certainly, PVF has many anonymous donors. An anonymous donor can choose any name for its Fund, including simply “Anonymous Fund”. At PVF, your decision to remain anonymous is taken very seriously and your privacy and anonymity is safeguarded.

Can a donor have different types of Funds at PVF?

Yes, a donor is not restricted to one type of fund, and can be flexible in their giving plan. For example, a donor can have a Donor Advised Fund, from which the donor makes recommendations for distributions to various charitable causes, and can fund a Donor Program specifically designed by PVF to match the donor’s interests.

How are PVF donor funds invested?

PVF donor funds are invested in a money market fund for maximum stability. For larger funds, the donor has the option of recommending alternate investment vehicles. The interest that accrues is allocated to the donor’s Fund.

I currently have a fund at a community foundation. Can I transfer funds to PVF?

Yes, this is a simple transaction in which the community foundation would simply need instructions from the donor to make the transfer to PVF. The same is true for those desiring to transfer funds from any of the institutional charitable Gift Funds such as Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab.

Can I donate via the internet by credit card?

Yes, click here and you will be transferred to our secure Network for Good service that will let you donate to PVF immediately using your credit card.

Interested in opening a donor advised fund at PVF?

“PVF has the right idea about philanthropy. Respond quickly and responsibly. Pick the causes that help people at the core. In this modern age where philanthropy has become big business, it is good to know that PVF is working on the most unassuming, effective, and critical ways to deliver the goods and services.”



– Phyllis Koshland Friedman, President, Friedman Family Foundation