Generosity for Less

Mutual Funds

Generosity for Less

Donor-advised mutual funds cut their fees dramatically.

With a donor-advised fund, you can donate cash, take a current-year tax deduction and have a say in how the money will be used.

In July, Charles Schwab and Fidelity slashed fees for their funds by nearly one-half; they now charge 0.6% on accounts up to $500,000. Vanguard cut its fee from 0.57% to 0.46% on accounts up to $1.5 million.

Such reductions could put pressure on community foundations, which run their own charitable funds, to do likewise (many foundations charge 1% or more). Although the organizations argue that their local expertise justifies the fees, "I have to say that cuts by the fund companies will have some impact," says Carla Dearing, of the Community Foundations of America.