Vanguard Charitable is a national donor-advised fund sponsor. Founded in 1997, we are now one of the largest grantmaking organizations in the United States. An ever-increasing number of donors—individuals, companies, and other organizations—are contributing to Vanguard Charitable because of who we are and what we represent: low-cost, high-value philanthropic services.

A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving account designed exclusively to invest, grow, and give assets to charities for meaningful and lasting impact. Here's how it works: You donate assets into a DAF account and recommend how those assets should be invested. Your contribution is tax-deductible and the assets in the account grow tax-free. When you're ready, recommend a grant to a charity you care about, and we take care of the rest.

 

Some people call it a giving vehicle. Others call it a philanthropic fund. We call it the most convenient, tax-efficient way to give back.

 

Ready to get started? Here's how: 

  1. Go to Open an account. 
  2. Once you establish an account, make a contribution. Because Vanguard Charitable is a 501(c)(3) organization, contributions to Vanguard Charitable are tax-deductible.
  3. Then recommend investments for the contributed assets. Assets in the philanthropic account grow tax-free.  
  4. When you're ready, recommend grants to eligible public charities, and 
  5. Establish your charitable legacy with a succession plan that reflects your values for years to come.

The quickest way to check a contribution status is though your online account. Log in to your account. In the upper navigation bar, hover over Contributions and then click on Contribution Activity in the drop down menu. You can sort the list of contributions by status or time frame. For additional transaction detail, select the view button on the right hand side of the screen.  

 

Click the Open Account button on the upper right corner of the screen. The open account page will slide open. You have two choices: Read through a brief overview of the process or click the Open an Account button to get started right away. 

 

Once you begin, opening an account takes about 15 minutes. If you need to go back to a previous screen, click on the prior step located on the left side of the page. Using the steps to navigate the process allows you to go back, review or edit the previous screens. 

 

Once the account is opened, you may fund the account immediately. The minimum amount to open an account is $25,000. For specific instructions about how to fund an account according to asset type, please click here.

You can contribute assets held in Vanguard individual, joint or trust accounts entirely online. After completing a one-time linking process, you can initiate contributions through the vanguard.com Philanthropic Center.  

 

To link your Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts, complete the following steps:

  1. Log on to your Vanguard Charitable account.
  2. Navigate to the Make a Contribution page, select Asset held at Vanguard and follow prompts.
  3. Select Generate access keyThis one-time use access key expires in 4 hours. Write it down. You'll need it for your next step.
  4. Navigate to vanguard.com and log in to your account. Choose My Accounts, select Tax Center, then click the Vanguard Philanthropic Center.
  5. Select Start Donation and enter your Vanguard Charitable username and access key to link your accounts.

 

Please consult your Vanguard Financial Advisor in Personal Advisor Services before making a contribution from a managed account. 

Our minimum contribution to establish an account is $25,000. 

 

Initial contribution minimum $25,000
Additional contribution minimum

$5,000

Annual maintenance fee for accounts with less than $15,000 (assessed annually in March)

$250

 

Donor-advised funds are ineligible to receive direct distributions from IRAs. Assets must be claimed as income first and then donated. However, you can donate your RMDs or QCDs to Vanguard Charitable’s Sustainable Disaster-Relief Fund (SDRF), which supports communities recovering from natural disasters. The SDRF is a mission-driven fund, not a donor-advised fund, and is eligible to receive RMDs and QCDs. But you will not have discretion over grants from this fund. Click here for more information. Be sure to contact your tax professional to determine if this is the best approach for you. 

To donate specific lots, you should provide the holding firm with your cost basis details when you initiate the transfer of assets. If the assets are held at Vanguard, see below for more details.

 


Enter your contribution on vanguard.com through the Vanguard Philanthropic Center. If you have elected specific identification for your cost basis method you will be able to select which lots of shares to donate during the contribution process. However, the shares may use average cost, instead of original cost, if they are non-covered or if the shares were purchased prior to an exiting average cost.

 

Please refer to vanguard.com to view the basis prior to selecting lots. You can only change the cost basis method through the account maintenance page on vanguard.com. If the position is currently average cost, a nightly cycle is required to update the available lots.

 

For contributions entered on vanguardcharitable.org or via paper, you have three options:

1. Submit a Letter of Authorization. This form includes a place to identify specific lots.

2. Locate a Letter of Instruction. This form requires signatures and dates from all registered owners of the account. If additional pages are needed, all registered owners must sign each page. This form must be received by Vanguard Charitable via email or fax at the time the contribution is entered. 

3. Contact your Vanguard representative when you enter your contribution on the Vanguard Charitable website. You will need the following information during the call:

  • Vanguard account number
  • Mutual fund name or security symbol
  • Date the shares were acquired
  • The quantity of shares and original purchase price

 

If you have additional questions regarding cost basis, please contact us.

Linking your account is a one-time process. The steps below walk you through the linking process. Once your Vanguard and Vangaurd Charitable accounts are linked, you can make contributions directly through vanguard.com:

 

  1. Log on to your Vanguard Charitable account.
  2. Navigate to the Make a contribution page and select Asset held at Vanguard.
  3. Select Generate access keyThis one-time use access key expires in 4 hours. Write it down or copy it. You'll need it for your next step.
  4. Navigate to vanguard.com. Choose My Accounts, select Tax Center, then click the Vanguard Philanthropic Center.
  5. Select Start Donation and enter your Vanguard Charitable username and access key to link your accounts.

 

Vanguard Charitable account balances, investment allocations, granting history, and other Vanguard Charitable account information for Vanguard clients will not be visible to Vanguard representatives. A Vanguard representative who has authorization to process a transaction on a client’s behalf will be able to view the client’s Vanguard Charitable account information through the Vanguard Philanthropic Center during the contribution workflow only.

No, linking your Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable accounts is a one-time process.

Yes. You can contribute assets held at your Vanguard accounts to Vanguard Charitable. After completing a one-time process to link your Vanguard Charitable and Vanguard accounts, you can initiate online contributions from a Vanguard Individual, Joint or Trust account by completing the following steps.

 

  1. Log on to your Vanguard Charitable account.
  2. Navigate to the Make a Contribution page and select Asset held at Vanguard.
  3. Select Generate access keyThis one-time use access key expires in 4 hours. Write it down. You'll need it for your next step.
  4. Navigate to vanguard.com. Choose My Accounts, select Tax Center, then click the Vanguard Philanthropic Center.
  5. Select Start Donation and enter your Vanguard Charitable username and access key to link your accounts.

 

Note: Please consult your Vanguard Financial Advisor in Personal Advisor Services before making a contribution from a managed account. 

Yes, so long as all account owners are web-registered on vanguard.com and have provided authorization for other owners to transact on the account independently.

Yes, so long as all trustees are web-registered on vanguard.com and have provided authorization for other trustees to transact on the account independently.

If you choose not to link your accounts, you will need to use a paper form. For more information, please visit How to contribute or forms

Yes, you can unlink your accounts by contacting a Vanguard representative.

No. Vanguard account information is not visible to Vanguard Charitable representatives. Vanguard Charitable representatives can only see the Vanguard account number, registration, address, and details of the contribution, such as the holding and number of shares or dollar amount.

Vanguard-held assets donated online through the Vanguard Philanthropic Center must be submitted prior to 4:00 p.m., Eastern time, to be traded on the same business day.

 

Transactions initiated on vanguardcharitable.org and/or paper forms require additional handling. We recommend these donations be submitted by 1:30 p.m., Eastern time. 

 

A transaction can only be approved if all paperwork is received and in good order.

The chart below details the standard timeline for liquidating stock and mutual fund shares, once the asset and required paperwork are received in good order by Vanguard Charitable. The schedule may vary depending on the circumstances of the donation, current market schedules, and the assets being donated, such as restricted stock, thinly traded securities, and special assets.

 

Asset type

Business Day 1

Business Day 2 Business Day 3 Business Day 4 Business Day 5
Stock1 Asset received at Vanguard Charitable Asset sold as soon as possible Trade in settlement Trade settles, and proceeds sweep to Vanguard Charitable’s money market account2 Proceeds exchange to selected investment options
Mutual fund held outside Vanguard (transfer process takes 4 - 8 weeks3) Asset received at Vanguard Charitable Asset sold Trade in settlement Trade settles, and proceeds sweep to Vanguard Charitable’s money market account2 Proceeds exchange to selected investment options
Vanguard mutual funds held at Vanguard Asset received at Vanguard Charitable; proceeds exchange to selected investment options        

1 If a stock is thinly traded, selling all contributed shares on the same day may not be feasible. Vanguard Charitable will use its discretion to sell thinly traded securities as quickly as possible without significantly impacting the market price of the security. Thinly traded securities must be preapproved by Vanguard Charitable before they are contributed. There is no definitive timeline for restricted stock, as processing depends on the cooperation of the transfer agent and company issuing the shares. Contact Vanguard Charitable with questions.

2 Interest earned overnight in the money market account is used to offset Vanguard Charitable expenses.

3 Mutual funds can take between one and three days to settle. The settlement period is specific to the fund and determined by the fund company

Securities may take a full business week to settle and show up in an account.

 

You can follow the progress of your contribution.

 

  1. Log into your account, click the Contributions tab to view the most recent contributions, or
  2. Select the Contribution Activity to view each step a contribution takes and all transaction details.

You can view the details of transactions by logging on to your account and selecting My Account from the top menu, then View Transaction Summary. On this page, you can filter by specific transaction category you want to view. Recent transactions, within the past 90 days, are listed on the account summary page. 

Once completed, you can view your tax substantiation letter by logging on to your account and clicking My Account at the top right side of the screen. In the drop down menu, select My Documents and the Statements and Documents page will open. Scroll down to Contribution confirmations & tax records. You will find your tax substantiation letters there. 

If you're not eligible to initiate a contribution on vanguard.com, you can make a contribution two ways: 

 

1. Paper form: Download the Make a Contribution form.

2. Online: Log in to your account and go to Make a Contribution.

 

You may be asked to authenticate your contribution using one of the following processes, especially if your contribution exceeds $2 million:

 

1. Signature guarantee on a Letter of Authorization

 

A signature guarantee is a promise by the transferring financial institution that the signature is genuine and the financial institution accepts liability for any forgery. It can be obtained at many banks and financial institutions. Once completed, all original forms with signature guarantees must be sent to Vanguard Charitable via overnight or registered mail to: Vanguard Charitable, 2670 Warwick Avenue, Warwick, RI 02889-9509

 

2. Medallion signature guarantee on a Letter of Authorization

 

A medallion signature guarantee is a promise from a bank or financial institution that the signature is genuine, the individual has the funds available, and the financial institution accepts liability for any forgery. A medallion normally has a dollar limit. You can obtain a medallion signature guarantee from many banks or brokerage firms; however not all states provide them. To determine if your area provides medallions, visit the Securities Transfer Association, Inc. website. Original forms with completed medallion signature guarantees must be sent to Vanguard Charitable via overnight or registered mail to: Vanguard Charitable, 2670 Warwick Avenue, Warwick, RI 02889-9509.

 

3.Vanguard Voice Verification TM (VVV)

 

Contact us to let us know your intention to use VVV and provide the name of your Vanguard representative, if known. All registered owners of the asset must be enrolled in VVV prior to the contribution. Registration is conducted with your Vanguard representative and must be completed at least 7 days prior to use. Once you have submitted your contribution information to Vanguard Charitable, your Vanguard representative will contact you to initiate and complete the VVV process. Please make sure all owners of the asset are available for the call. Authentication must be completed on the day of asset transfer. If you have any questions about VVV, please contact your Vanguard representative directly.

You can recommend a grant online at any time when funds are available in your account. For new accounts, you will not be able to enter your grant recommendation until your contribution has settled and the net proceeds are reflected in your available balance. Our grant minimum is $500.

Vanguard Charitable can generally issue grants to organizations that are in good standing with the IRS, qualify as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3), and are classified as public charities under Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code at the time the grant is approved. This includes religious and government organizations. Vanguard Charitable may also approve grants to Type I, Type II, functionally integrated Type III supporting organizations, and intermediary organizations. For more information please see our Policies & Guidelines.

Yes, in addition to choosing the recipient charity, advisors may also recommend a specific purpose for grant funds. Grants cannot support lobbying, political campaigns, specific individuals, or any purpose that isn't charitable. Common purposes that can be selected during the grant recommendation process include, but are not limited to, general operating expenses, annual funds, scholarship programs, or specific projects.

Active management is an investment approach that seeks to exceed the average returns of a particular financial market or market segment. In selecting securities to buy and sell, active managers may rely on, among other things, research, market forecasts, quantitative models, and their own judgment and experience.


Passive management refers to index- and exchange-traded funds, which have no active manager and typically lower fees.

Investment options that seek to maintain a stable asset allocation (such as 20% stock, 80% bond) are reviewed by fund managers on a daily basis to ensure target allocation remains consistent. Some investment options, such as target retirement accounts, may change allocation over time based on long-term goals and strategies.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations are indicators of sustainable and responsible business practices. Environmental criteria indicate how a company performs as a steward of the natural environment. Social criteria examine how a company manages relationships with its employees, suppliers, clients, and communities. Governance criteria include a company’s board and leadership, executive pay, financial and other controls, and shareholder rights. There are several types of activities associated with ESG investing.   

 

Exclusionary screening: The exclusion of certain sectors, countries, and securities from an investment universe based on specific ESG-related criteria.

 

Inclusionary screening:  Proactive investment in sectors or companies selected for higher ESG ratings relative to industry peers or other investment opportunities.

 

Norms-based screening: A form of exclusionary screen that sets minimum standards criteria for business practice based on companies’ adherence to international norms (e.g., human rights, corruption)

An exchange-traded fund, or ETF, is a security that tracks the value of an index, commodity, or basket of assets in the same way as a mutual fund does, except it trades like stock on stock exchanges

An expense ratio is a fund’s total annual operating expenses expressed as a percentage of the fund’s average net assets. The expense ratio includes management and administrative expenses, but it does not include the transaction costs of buying and selling portfolio securities. Vanguard Charitable is able to offer a direct pass-through of Vanguard expense ratios and does not add additional fees for investing.

Indexing is an investment strategy for tracking the performance of a specified market benchmark, or index. An index is a group of securities whose overall performance is used as a standard to measure the investment performance of a particular market. There are many types of indexes. Some represent entire markets, such as the U.S. stock market or the U.S. bond market. Other indexes cover market segments, such as small-capitalization stocks or short-term bonds. The index sponsor determines the securities to include in the index, the weighting of each security in the index, and the appropriate time to make changes to the composition of the index. One cannot invest directly in an index.

 

Index funds typically have the following characteristics:

 

• Variety of investments: Index funds generally invest in the securities of a variety of companies and industries.

• Relative performance consistency: Because they seek to track market benchmarks, index funds usually do not perform dramatically better or worse than their benchmarks.

• Low cost: Index funds are generally inexpensive to run compared with actively managed funds. They have low or no research costs and typically keep trading activity, as well as brokerage commissions and other transaction costs, to a minimum compared with actively managed funds.

Share price, also known as net asset value (NAV), is calculated each business day as of the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), generally 4 p.m., Eastern time. The NAV per share is computed by dividing the total assets, minus liabilities, of the fund by the number of fund shares outstanding.

 

On U.S. holidays or other days when the NYSE is closed, the NAV is not calculated, and the fund does not sell or redeem shares. However, on those days the value of the fund’s assets may be affected to the extent that the fund holds securities that change in value, such as foreign securities that trade on foreign markets that are open.

Share classes are a common way of offering the same investment at different cost. With mutual funds, the higher the minimum initial investment, the lower the expense ratio. The investment objective and strategy, portfolio manager, and underlying investments are identical across share classes. That means you get the same high quality regardless of which share class you choose. A share classes that Vanguard Charitable donors typically have access to are: Vanguard Admiral, Institutional, and Institutional Plus share classes. 

The potential for risk in Vanguard Charitable investment options can be categorized in levels from 1 to 5. Knowing the risk level you are comfortable with and the length of time you expect the assets in the philanthropic account to be invested can help you select an appropriate investment recommendation. This is consistent with Vanguard's approach:

 

  • Risk level 1 Vanguard funds are classified as conservative if their share prices are expected to remain stable or to fluctuate only slightly. Such funds may be appropriate for the short-term reserves portion of a long-term investment portfolio, or for investors with short-term investment horizons (three years or less).
  • Risk level 2 Vanguard funds classified as conservative to moderate are subject to low-to-moderate fluctuations in share prices. In general, such funds may be appropriate for investors with medium-term investment horizons (four to ten years).
  • Risk level 3 Vanguard funds classified as moderate are subject to a moderate degree of fluctuation in share prices. In general, such funds may be appropriate for investors who have a relatively long investment horizon (more than five years).
  • Risk level 4 Vanguard funds of this type are broadly diversified but are subject to wide fluctuations in share price because they hold virtually all of their assets in common stocks. These funds may be appropriate for investors who have a long-term investment horizon (ten years or longer).
  • Risk level 5 Vanguard funds classified as aggressive are subject to extremely wide fluctuations in share price. These funds may be appropriate for investors who have a long-term investment horizon (ten years or longer). The unusually high volatility associated with these funds may stem from a number of strategies.

If you're not eligible to initiate a contribution on vanguard.com, you must authenticate your contribution. One way to do so is using Vanguard Voice VerificationTM (VVV) if the contribution value exceeds $2 million:

 

1) To complete VVV:

  1. Contact Vanguard Charitable to inform us of your intention to use VVV and provide the name of your Vanguard representative, if known.
  2. All registered owners of the asset must be enrolled in VVV prior to the contribution. Registration is conducted with your Vanguard representative and must be completed at least 7 days prior to use.
  3. Once you have submitted your contribution information to Vanguard Charitable, your Vanguard representative will contact you to initiate and complete the VVV process. Please make sure all owners of the asset are available for the call.
  4. Authentication must be completed on the day of the asset transfer.
  5. If you have any questions about VVV, please contact your Vanguard representative directly.
 

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