Consider them "foundation lite": A little history behind the donor-advised fund, "philanthropic delivery system of choice" for the new generation.
"You've probably never heard of donor-advised funds, but they are taking over the philanthropic world. It all started as a matter of economics. A million dollars to most of us is a lot of money. But as start-up cash for a philanthropic foundation it's chump change. A million-dollar foundation can easily cost more to run than it gives away. So an alternative was created by the IRS to give modest philanthropic efforts a cheaper, easier path to existence, bundling them together under an umbrella nonprofit for investment and management." -- Jack Shakely, the Los Angeles Times