FAQs for Philanthropists

How can I open a fund?

We are pleased that you are interested in taking the steps to learn more about opening a fund. Our philanthropic advisors are here to assist you in your philanthropic journey. To get started, please fill out our Fund Inquiry Form and one of our philanthropic advisors will be in touch shortly.

How can I get in touch with my philanthropic advisor?

One of the benefits of working with Seattle Foundation is access to personalized philanthropic advising. You can find contact information and a bio of your philanthropic advisor on our team page. If you do not know who your philanthropic advisor is, please reach out to [email protected].

How does the grant approval process work?

There are two tracks for grant approval. For organizations who regularly receive grants from Seattle Foundation funds and who have been vetted through our due diligence process, grants are pre-approved by the Board of Trustees on an annual basis. For new grantees, due diligence must be completed at the time of the recommendation and the Board’s Grants Committee approves the grant within the week due diligence is completed.

Can I buy a ticket to a nonprofit event from my fund?

It is illegal to receive any personal benefit as a result of making a contribution from a Donor Advised Fund. Therefore, event tickets, auction items and other such benefits cannot be purchased through your fund. You may certainly sponsor a nonprofit event through your fund, but you must purchase your ticket separately.

Can I recommend a multi-year grant from my fund?

It is possible to set up a multi-year commitment from a Seattle Foundation fund. However, this has to take the form of a letter of intent from Seattle Foundation and the grantee. Seattle Foundation cannot honor any pledge commitments from a donor to an organization. If you plan to make a multi-year commitment that will be paid out of a Seattle Foundation fund, it is crucial that you work with us from the outset and do not sign any pledge documents.

Can I recommend that grants be made anonymously?

Yes, absolutely. You may choose that your name, the name of your fund, or both remain anonymous in the transmittal letter that accompanies your grant checks. It is a simple process, and we are keenly aware of the importance of maintaining anonymity for our philanthropists who request it.

How current is my fund balance?

We strive to keep the information displayed in your fund balance as current as possible. Typically, fund balances are updated on a monthly basis, with gift and grant transactions updated as they are processed. In the Fund Summary section at the top of the Your Account page, you’ll find the date through which your fund balance is current. Read more detailed information about our investment management.

How long does it take for a grant check to reach a recipient?

For grantees that are pre-approved by the Board, checks are cut within a week of the recommendation. For new or less common grantees, the process typically takes two weeks. There can be complications to the due diligence process that result in grants taking longer, though these are extreme cases.

How often are fund statements produced?

Fund statements are produced quarterly for the preceding quarter.

When are administrative fees assessed?

Administrative fees are assessed monthly. Learn more (pdf) about Seattle Foundation’s fees.

When are investment returns allocated to my fund?

Investment returns are allocated monthly. All allocations are usually completed by the 20th of the following month. At year end, this will typically take a few additional weeks.

Can I make a donation to my fund online?

Yes, you can make direct debit contributions to your fund through your online account. For access to your account or for other ways to make contributions, please contact your philanthropic advisor. You can also contact our philanthropic services team at 206.515.2111 or [email protected].

When will I see my gifts to my fund online?

Gifts are processed weekly. You will typically see a gift appear online the week after it is received in our office. Some types of gifts, such as real estate or private securities, may take longer.

What is the best way to make a grant recommendation?

There are a number of ways to make a grant recommendation and the easiest is through your online account on the website. Of course, you can always email [email protected] to inform your Philanthropic Services team that you wish to make a recommendation.