October 24, 2019

How a Donor-Advised Fund Can Help to Advance the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals

Author National Philanthropic Trust

As the U.N. celebrates the 74th anniversary of United Nations Day on October 24, there is greater focus than ever on the organization’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This ambitious agenda aims to mobilize efforts to end extreme poverty, protect the planet and ensure health and prosperity for all people by 2030.

Since the SDGs were adopted in 2015, there has been significant progress in critical areas, such as lower child mortality rates and widespread access to immunization. However, there’s a great deal more to do. “A much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed…to achieve our 2030 goals,” urges U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres in the U.N.’s 2019 Sustainable Development Goals Report.

While government and business may have the deepest pockets, philanthropists have a huge role to play in supporting the SDGs. Whether your charitable support is in the millions or closer to the U.S. household average of about $2,500 a year, you can identify an SDG that aligns with your values and mission. For those with a donor-advised fund, here are three ways you can use your DAF to bolster your efforts:

*You can recommend grants in support of SDGs to both U.S. nonprofits and international charities. All DAF sponsors let you support SDGs by recommending grants to U.S. charities, but some DAF sponsors, including NPT, also facilitate international grantmaking. Grants to charities based abroad require additional due diligence to determine the charity’s eligibility to receive a grant. With an NPT DAF, you can focus on your charitable mission, knowing NPT is doing the work to vet your international grant recipients.

*You can use impact investing in your DAF to amplify your efforts. Impact investing lets you put your philanthropic capital to work to generate a positive social return in addition to a financial one. This fall, to increase the impact our donors are having and provide them with access to industry-leading investments, NPT unveiled four new impact portfolios, which support many of the U.N.’s SDGs. These portfolios include:

Economic Mobility (aligned with SDGs 8, 10 and 11)

Environmental Stewardship (SDGs 6, 7, 12, 13 and 15)

Gender Lens (SDGs 5 and 10)

Broad Social Impact (SDGs 5, 8, 10, 11 and 13)

*You can collaborate with others to accomplish more. The U.N.’s 17th SDG highlights the critical role of partnerships to achieve transformative change. At NPT, we help you work with like-minded philanthropists by providing you with the strategic guidance and the infrastructure—including corporate- and foundation-advised funds, supporting organizations and designated funds—so that your collaboration can thrive.

If you would like more information on how you can use a donor-advised fund to help you advance sustainable development and other goals, please do not hesitate to call NPT at (888) 878-7900 or email us at npt@nptrust.org.


René Paradis is NPT’s Chief Operating Officer and has more than 30 years of experience in finance, accounting, compliance and operations.

NPT does not provide legal or tax advice. This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be, and shall not be relied upon as, legal or tax advice. The applicability of information contained here may vary depending on individual circumstances.

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