Portland couple finds relief in donor advised fund

When Dick and Carolyn Sellke feel compelled to help following a disaster, they don’t have to go very far to love their neighbors in need.

"It's just really easy to go down to the computer and call up the donor advised funds software," Dick said. "I really find it very easy to do and we don’t have to worry about anything else. It’s all taken care of."

Donor advised funds are one of the fastest growing areas of philanthropy today. Rather than manually writing checks or entering credit cards to offer gifts, donor advised funds are a charitable account that allow owners flexibility in where and when their generous support is offered.

The Sellkes are retired and enjoy basking in the glow of their family, most of which is close by. A son and daughter in law live next door to their home just outside of Portland, Ore. Two other sons live within easy reach.

They see family often, but the Sellkes have set up their donor advised funds as something of an online meeting point as well. Their advisor configured their fund so that their family could offer input on where to direct funds, and how to do so once the Sellkes pass away.

"It makes giving very easy," Dick said. "There is never any question about rules or taxes. We follow the rules and it’d be silly not to take advantage of it."

The Sellke's conviction of sharing their love with neighbors in need is strong, built in a life-long Lutheran tradition. Originally drawn to help others have food, Dick – a retired engineer and Carolyn – a retired Lutheran school teacher – see caring for neighbors as a fundamental expression of their Christian faith.

"God has given us everything and wants us to be good stewards," Carolyn said. "Our donor advised fun helps us to do that, whenever we choose, easily."

As one the fastest-growing ways of giving, donor advised funds provided the Sellke's with an easy way of continuing their life as stewards. Learn more about how you can use donor advised funds for your charitable giving.