The AEF Difference


AEF is not the charitable arm of a for-profit company or affiliated with another nonprofit.

AEF does not sell financial products or services.

AEF has no hidden agenda or secondary agenda, i.e. social, religious, geographic, investment, or succession.

While many claim independence, most donor advised fund programs are the "captive charity" of a for profit company or another charity. AEF is truly independent, and does not provide financial advice, sell financial products, or offer custody services. We accrue no benefit from brokerage services, commissions, finder fees, or product sales. AEF does not compete with financial advisors or financial institutions. 

Open investment architecture

Commercial and community foundation programs restrict investment choice to a limited menu of proprietary mutual funds or pools. With AEF, contributed funds are segregated and can include a wide variety mutual funds and/or individual securities in separately managed portfolios.

Designed for donors who depend on their trusted advisor

AEF is designed for donors who are typically familiar with a more tailored approach to investments. At AEF, donors may recommend their investment manager to manage the investments in separately managed accounts. The primary appeal of separately managed accounts lies in the investment manager’s ability to tailor the asset allocation and the selection of securities.

Contribution flexibility

Most commercial donor advised fund programs accept only cash and marketable securities. AEF also accepts life insurance policies, closely held stock, real estate, etc..

Liquidation flexibility

Most commercial and community foundation programs require immediate liquidation of contributed assets. AEF can hold assets in-kind.


Many community foundation programs limit succession to the life of the donor and the donor's spouse and/or to the children of the donor. At that point, the family is no longer involved. AEF allows the Fund to continue over successive generations.

Grant-making flexibility

Many community foundations limit grants to their geographic area of interest. AEF's scope is nationwide. AEF has no hidden and/or secondary agenda (program, social, religious, geographic, investment, or succession).

Ease of Access

AEF provides concierge level service to donors. Advisors and donors communicate directly with AEF’s principals.


Tom Tobin

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