Woodbury Mayor Anne Burt uses a donor-advised fund (DAF) as a flexible way to give back

Woodbury Mayor Anne Burt uses a donor-advised fund (DAF) as a flexible way to give back

As 20-year residents, she and her husband Jeff are “all in” for the community. When they reviewed their charitable giving recently, they increased their focus on making a difference in Woodbury, keeping the funds local and capitalizing on the tax advantage and flexibility of a DAF.

“We’ve lived in Woodbury for 20 years. It’s a great place to raise a family, and we just love it,” says Anne Burt, who’s served as the community’s mayor since her election in 2018. Besides her focus on governing the city, she describes her ancillary role as mostly a connector. “I’m just a connector of people, basically. We want to do things to support our community, however we can. Jeff and I are strong supporters of our city government–and personally we want to ensure Woodbury is a great place to live, work, learn, and serve!” 



When she took over as mayor, she followed her predecessor in the longstanding tradition of joining the board at Woodbury Community Foundation (WCF). She admits she didn’t know much about the foundation before she started, but that the more she’s learned about the reach and impact of the growing organization, the more impressed she’s become.

“Now that I understand more about the various functions, programs, and people making a difference, it’s so amazing,” Burt says. “The challenge, now, is to help others learn more about WCF—and figure out how they can get involved.” 

Burt is quick to rattle off some of her favorite WCF initiatives. The Angels of Hope Fund was created after three local parents approached her about building a public memorial garden in honor of those who’ve lost children too soon. She encouraged them to consider enlisting WCF to handle the back-end administration of a fund and building project instead of launching an entire nonprofit organization on their own. Within a day and a half, the connection was made and the ball was rolling. Another friend wanted to raise money for Alzheimer’s research, and partnered with the WCF to accept and invest funds for the annual Bash for Brains fundraising event.  

One day, a local police officer met a high school student on a call and realized she only owned one single outfit. He raided his own kids’ closets and gave them to her, putting her needs above the formal boundaries of his role. The Public Safety Fund was born, allowing community members to donate funds that local law enforcement can access at their discretion.

“Now if police see a need in the community—like someone needs a tank of gas or a hotel room for the night—they have this fund they can pull from,” Burt explains. All three initiatives, she adds, were born of ideas local residents had for giving back to the Woodbury community. And the WCF has stepped in as the administrative “engine” to make them happen. With a front-row seat to the successes and limitations of local government, she’s come to appreciate the diverse and resident-led ways WCF shows up in the community. 

When the Burts earned an unexpectedly high return on the sale of a long-term investment, they knew they wanted to help make a difference—and that the WCF was high on the list of places they’d like to support. Their interests are many, though, and they weren’t quite ready to commit to an outright gift to one cause within the foundation. Instead, they decided to become role models, of sorts, and set up one of the first donor-advised funds held by WCF.

A donor advised fund (DAF) is held by a public charity and sometimes called a “charitable checkbook.” A donor can direct many types of assets—from cash to real estate to cryptocurrency—to a DAF, getting an immediate charitable tax write-off. The fund grows tax-free until the fund holder(s), or beneficiaries they choose, direct those funds later on.


“The tax advantage of the DAF was key, and we knew we’d be donating anyway. We love knowing that our dollars will be used locally, and that we get a say in how that happens.”

The Burts chose to donate stock to WCF instead of selling it outright, which would trigger significant capital gains tax on the appreciation. The WCF directed the proceeds from the sale into a dedicated DAF in the Burts’ name, and the couple received an immediate charitable tax deduction for the full fair market value of the shares. The Burts grant from the fund to nonprofit organizations—or specific projects at WCF—whenever and wherever their philanthropic mood strikes. While DAFs are available through many foundations, the Burts loved the idea of keeping their dollars invested locally, under the oversight of trusted friends and neighbors at the WCF.

“There’s good, quarterly financial reporting,” Burt says. “When we get inspired by a cause, it’s so easy to make a phone call and direct X number of dollars there. We get an immediate confirmation, and there are no parameters on where the funds can go. We can support our church, other nonprofits, or even the Public Safety Fund at WCF.”

Woodbury is 58 years old and coming into its own as an established community with a lot to offer, Burt says. She contrasts it to cities like Edina or Stillwater, where families have lived, and given back, for many generations already. She’s glad to see the WCF get more established as a supporting entity. Through options like the DAF, she hopes more residents who are committed to Woodbury can entrust their gifts and make a difference, in their own way.

Open a Donor Advised Fund at Woodbury Community Foundation

When you open a WCF donor advised fund, you’ll get an immediate charitable tax deduction for the fair market value of the cash or assets you use to fund it. Then it grows tax-free until you decide when and where you’d like to grant your charitable dollars.
Scroll to Top