Frequently asked questions
Find answers to your charitable-giving questions.
- What is a donor-advised fund and how does it work?
A Schwab Charitable donor-advised fund is a simple, tax-smart solution for supporting charitable organizations you care about. Once you set up an account with Schwab Charitable and contribute cash, securities, or appreciated assets, you’ll be eligible for a current-year tax deduction and can be more strategic about your giving decisions.
- What types of donor-advised fund accounts does Schwab Charitable offer?
We offer two different types of Schwab Charitable accounts. Our core donor-advised fund account requires a minimum initial contribution of $5,000 and donors can recommend investment of account assets among a selection of investment pools. For larger accounts (minimum $250,000 initial contribution), our professionally managed account option enables clients to recommend an investment advisor to invest the account in a wider range of investments.
- How much does a Schwab Charitable account cost?
The basic cost structure of a Schwab Charitable account consists of two parts: administrative fees and investment expenses.
In certain situations, we may assess additional fees on individual accounts to cover special costs. These may include legal and professional costs, taxes, or transaction costs.
Contributing to your account
- Are there any contribution minimums?
Yes. Donors may open a core account with a minimum initial contribution of $5,000. After the initial contribution, contributions of $500 or more may be made at any time.
- Which types of assets can be contributed to a Schwab Charitable™ account?
The most common contributions are cash and appreciated unrestricted publicly traded securities, including stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual fund shares, and bonds. Appreciated non-cash assets—such as restricted or privately held stock, private equity, hedge funds, real estate, and tangible personal property—are accepted on a case-by-case basis.
- How long does it take to process contributions for a new Schwab Charitable account?
Typically, accounts are opened and funded within one business day of the receipt of the initial contribution. In some cases (during periods of high volume or when assets are being transferred from a financial institution other than Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.), the process can take several weeks.
Investing your contributions
- How can assets contributed to Schwab Charitable accounts be invested prior to recommending a grant?
Schwab Charitable offers a variety of investment options depending on the account type.
Donors with a core donor-advised fund account (initial contribution of $5,000) can invest in a selection of investment pools.
Donors with a professionally managed account (minimum initial contribution of $250,000) may designate an investment advisor to invest the account in a broad range of investment options, including stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds.
- Can I reallocate my funds among investment pools?
Donors may recommend a reallocation of the account assets at any time on Schwab.com or by using the Update Donor-Advised Account form. Schwab Charitable will invest all future contributions and fund all grants according to the most current requested portfolio asset allocation.
- What if I don’t specify a recommended asset allocation for my contributed assets?
If a donor chooses not to recommend a portfolio asset allocation, Schwab Charitable will allocate 100% of the contribution to the Money Market Pool. Donors may recommend a reallocation of the account assets at any time via the Schwab Charitable website or the Schwab Mobile app, or by using the Update Donor-Advised Account form.
Giving to a charity
- How do I recommend a grant?
Donors may recommend grants to charities of choice from their Schwab Charitable account. Because contributions to a Schwab Charitable account receive associated tax benefits, they are irrevocable and legally owned by Schwab Charitable. Schwab Charitable reviews and processes grant recommendations. Grant recommendations are generally approved as long as the organizations are IRS-approved 501(c)(3) public charities and the grants comply with guidelines and restrictions specified in the Program Policies.
- Is there a minimum grant amount?
Grants from Schwab Charitable can be made for as little as $50, enabling donors to use their accounts to facilitate most of their charitable giving.
Grants of $50 or more can be recommended to qualified U.S. tax-exempt charities, or to U.S. state or local governmental organizations qualified to receive charitable contributions, such as state colleges, universities, private operating foundations, or certain international organizations. There is no limit to the number of grant recommendations that you may make from the account.
While there is no minimum balance requirement, an account cannot maintain a zero balance indefinitely. Please see the Schwab Charitable Program Policies for more details.
- How long does it take to process grant recommendations for a new Schwab Charitable account?
If Schwab Charitable has already granted to a charity and it remains IRS-approved, a personalized grant letter and check will generally be mailed to the charity within three to five business days. If Schwab Charitable has not previously granted to the charity, the due diligence process may take a bit longer depending on the type of the charity and how responsive the charity is. During peak activity periods at the end of the year, grants may take longer to issue.