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Democratizing DAFs and Putting The Money to Work!

Kate Cochran May 27, 2021

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are a powerful tool for impact investing, yes, impact investing. Most people think of DAFs as charitable accounts. While that’s true, most of the capital allocated to a DAF in any given year is invested, not granted. There’s a movement towards turning the invested DAF capital away from Wall Street and towards impact investing. At the same time, it’s democratizing impact investing in the most amazing way. Account minimums are disappearing, which means anyone who pays taxes can now open a DAF. To serve this broader demographic, many DAF sponsors are allowing their donor clients to recommend allocations to impact investments just like they’d recommend a gift to a charity. Thanks to the pioneers, several of which are on this panel, a new form of catalytic capital is at play – where investment returns are even more powerful because they’re recycled into other impact projects, creating an impact loop that is a gamechanger for the world’s most pressing problems. All this opens up opportunities for a new breed of microfinanciers, social and climate entrepreneurs, innovators, and creatives – all thinking big, really big, and making the impossible possible. Our panel will share the why’s, the how to’s, and give tangible examples of DAF investments across a broad spectrum of venture, real estate, and microfinance, with ample time for Q&A. 



Meta Themes

  • Impact Investing


Democratizing Impact Products

Purpose and Desired Outcome

Energize a broader population and raise awareness of how mainstream donors can engage in impact investing through DAFS


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Intermediaries (Financial Advisers, Investment Bankers)

  • Entrepreneurs


  • NameKate Cochran
  • TitleCEO
  • OrganizationUpaya Social Ventures
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameJoellen Nicholson
  • TitleManaging Director
  • OrganizationUniversity Impact
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameDiane Schrader
  • TitleFounder + CEO
  • OrganizationthirdACT & the Climate Salon
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameKim Long
  • TitleCo-founder
  • OrganizationGivingFund
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameSamantha Penabad
  • TitleCo-founder
  • OrganizationGivingFund
  • StatusConfirmed
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