September 8, 2022

Case Studies: How DAF Grantmaking Supports Scholarships and Financial Aid

Author Andrea Rush, SVP of Philanthropic Solutions

Americans donated more than $70 billion to educational institutions and causes last year, giving to colleges and universities, as well as elementary and secondary schools, parent and teacher groups, afterschool programs, libraries and special education. Education is reliably one of the largest recipient categories in charitable giving.

Grants for education composed about a quarter of National Philanthropic Trust’s grantmaking last fiscal year. NPT’s donors granted more than $1 billion to schools and education-related programs through their donor-advised funds. Many donors wish to provide funding for scholarships and financial aid through their grantmaking, helping to increase access to education, provide resources for student retention and expand post-graduate opportunities. As back-to-school season returns, we’re highlighting two case studies in which donors collaborated with NPT’s Philanthropic Solutions Group to design and fund financial aid and scholarships through their donor-advised funds.

Education, Business and Giving Back

Jerome Zaslow, a 1943 graduate of a Philadelphia public high school, didn’t initially think he would attend college. But on the advice of a customer at his father’s small linen and curtain storefront, and at the insistence of his mother who didn’t have the opportunity to finish high school, Zaslow went on to study business at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

After graduating, Zaslow embarked on what would become a successful career, growing his father’s small business into a major textile supplier and wholesaler. It was his education and career in business that allowed him and his wife, Anne, to commit themselves to philanthropy as well. The family supported hospitals, food pantries and religious institutions among other causes.

After he passed away in 2020, Zaslow’s three daughters —Janet, Sara and Rebecca — the successor advisors to his donor-advised fund, decided to establish and underwrite a scholarship at their father’s high school. Education was fundamental for both Jerome and Anne, as was charitable giving and volunteering.

“We hope to keep our parents’ philanthropic ideas alive,” Janet said on behalf of her and her sisters. “My father and mother always instilled in us the importance of giving back. And they wanted us to give our time as well. Both of our parents gave their time to people and organizations that they were passionate about.”

The sisters wished to provide a scholarship award annually to a graduating senior who, like their father, would pursue business studies in college. The Philanthropic Solutions Group at NPT worked with the donors and located a local nonprofit organization that helped facilitate the scholarship in coordination with the school. In June of 2021, the first award was made, with the coordinating nonprofit organization including the family throughout the process.

“Education was always on the top of the list for my parents,” Janet told NPT. “It was always important to provide the proper tools and strategies to encourage the best educational environment for each student and we intend to work with organizations that work toward those goals.” In addition to the scholarship in their father’s name, the sisters continue to support hunger alleviation, religious and medical causes, as well educational and literacy efforts for students with learning differences.

Anonymous Generosity

An anonymous donor wished to establish a scholarship at her alma mater that would cover all costs of attendance for a student’s four years of higher education including tuition, room, board, meal plan, fees and other associated costs.

The award was intended for a low-income student, majoring in the arts, who wished to live away from home and have a different life experience. NPT’s Philanthropic Solutions Group worked with the college to establish the criteria for the grant agreement and process the grant. The college coordinated outreach to high schools to source qualified applicants, facilitated the application process and awarded the scholarship. Annual progress reports were provided, along with correspondence from the student, to the anonymous donor. The first recipient of the scholarship is set to graduate this December.

By using a DAF and working with a trusted organization, donors can recommend grants to expand access to education through scholarship funds. Learn more about the specifics of creating and structuring a scholarship through your donor-advised fund here.

If you are interested in learning more about funding scholarships with your DAF, reach out to us at

About the Author

Andrea Rush is Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Solutions and has more than 20 years of experience providing philanthropic solutions and handling all aspects of specialized grantmaking services, including direct international grants and grant agreements. Ms. Rush is responsible for the oversight of NPT’s various philanthropic vehicles such as Supporting Organizations and Special Projects.