A donor-advised fund, or DAF, is a philanthropic vehicle that allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time. The Community Foundation asked DAF fund holders Mark and Beverly Deyo-Svendsen to share why they chose to give. Here’s what they said.

In the late 2000s, our children had grown up, and we began looking at new ways to invest in the future. We were looking for an organization to partner with in order to meet local needs in areas that matter to us: hunger, housing and health care.

Every dollar we have is a gift to us. It is our job to spend or invest that money wisely. When we give, we give to organizations that share our values and fulfill our mission. We give with others because we can accomplish so much more when we work together than we could achieve alone.

The prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament was speaking to the people about what it means to truly “fast.” At the time fasting and covering one’s self in ashes were performed to try to win God’s favor: A lot of pain, but not too much gain. Essentially, Isaiah said this: You want to really make God happy? Get up out of the ashes and go do something for someone else. His words have become our family’s mission statement: “As you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then will your light rise in the darkness and will shine as the noonday… and the Lord will guide you continuously.”

Through the Foundation so far, we have supported the Bridge To Hope in the construction of their new facility, the Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association’s expansion of their Rice Pantry to Dunn County, Chippewa Valley Habitat for Humanity’s New Home Construction in Menomonie, and Stepping Stones of Dunn County’s Project SAM program.

We hope to start new projects that are sustainable beyond us and our initial investment. We look for fertile soil and plant seeds that will grow to become the fields and forests that meet  people’s needs for years to come.