Making Grants - Donor Advised Funds - How To Use Your Fund - Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

Making Grants with Your Donor Advised Fund

As a donor advisor, you may make grant recommendations whenever and as often as you wish using DonorCentral. Some donor advisors begin giving on day one! 

In addition to providing you with fund balance information, DonorCentral can also be used to make grant recommendations through Suggestion Central. You can research organizations in our database, or submit the name and address of any nonprofit organization to which you wish to make a grant. To recommend a grant, just submit the name of the organization, the amount of the proposed grant (minimum $100) and how you would like to be acknowledged.

Please let us know if you wish the grant to go to a special purpose, such as a capital campaign or a gift to your graduating class. Otherwise, we will assume that the grant is for general support and will notify the recipient organization that there are no restrictions on the gift.

You can login to DonorCentral from the top right hand corner of our website’s homepage. Enter your username and password on the DonorCentral welcome screen. You will receive your DonorCentral login information after your fund has been established. If you lose your login information, you may reset your password on DonorCentral.

Berkshire Taconic is responsible to the Internal Revenue Service for grants made by your donor-advised fund. Our board of directors has final discretion over all grants made and is responsible for ensuring that the organizations you recommend are eligible to receive grants.

When you recommend a grant recipient, we check that it is designated as a recognized charitable organization with IRS guidelines. The IRS requires that the organization be a public charity as defined in Sections 501(c)(3) and 509 (a) of the Internal Revenue Code. If a recommended organization fails to meet IRS requirements, IRS rules prohibit Berkshire Taconic from awarding your recommended grant.

In some cases, we may contact an organization for additional information about its mission and purpose. We will contact you directly if an eligibility question arises.

You may recommend a grant to any public charity located in the United States, including your place of worship, public libraries and most educational institutions. Although we cannot distribute grants directly to foreign charitable organizations, we can make grants to U.S. public charities that fund and support foreign charitable activities.

Approved grants are normally paid out within one week of receiving your recommendation. We make every attempt to provide prompt service and to respond to your suggestions quickly. There may be an occasional delay if we are unable to verify the charitable status of the organization or if the grant is over $5,000.

Berkshire Taconic sends you a notification when a grant recommendation is approved and paid. We also send a letter, along with a check, to the recipient organization; the letter includes the name of your donor-advised fund and your name and address (unless, of course, you request anonymity) so that the organization can thank you directly.

If you are making a donation in honor or memory of a friend, colleague or family member, let us know and we will inform the organization receiving the grant. If you supply the address, we will also send a note to the person you are honoring.

The notification process typically takes one week. Due to the large number of grants made at year’s end, additional time is usually required to process grants and notification letters at that time.

The IRS places a number of restrictions on the use of grants. IRS regulations prohibit donor-advised funds from awarding grants to:

  • purchase tickets to fundraisers or benefit dinners (including any portion of the ticket that is above the cost of the event)
  • fulfill memberships that have any tangible economic benefit for donors, advisors or related parties
  • support a specific individual
  • fulfill personal pledges
  • secure personal benefits for donors, advisors or related parties
  • support political campaigns or lobbying
  • make grants, loans, compensation or similar payments (including expense reimbursements) to donors, advisors or related parties

For these reasons, grants are sent directly to the organization. Our goal is to help our donors accomplish their charitable objectives within all federal and state regulations. If you have any questions about eligibility, please email or call 413.229.0370.

Berkshire Taconic honors all requests for anonymity. You may instruct us to keep the fund name or your name anonymous. You may also choose anonymity for any individual grant that you suggest. Please let us know your preference. You may also want to work with our staff to deploy your anonymous grant strategically. For example, the staff can use your anonymous grant to create a challenge grant to stimulate fundraising for an organization you care about. All of your financial information is kept strictly confidential [PDF, 22KB].

Many of our donors choose to make additions to their funds in December. We strongly encourage you to send us such year-end grant recommendations as early as possible to ensure timely processing.

Gifts must be in Berkshire Taconic’s account by end of day on December 31 to be eligible for a tax deduction for that year.

Follow our easy Giving Instructions to plan your giving.

Donor advised funds are often used to supportarts and cultural organizations like Tri-Arts Sharon Playhouse. Photo of TheSound of Music by Randy O’Rourke
About Berkshire Food Project
About Berkshire Food Project
Berkshire Food Project of North Adams, MA serves over 27,000 nutritious meals to people in need each year and is supported by the Hardman Fund, one of BTCF's 11 area funds.