The Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) commissioned four studies between 2000 and 2016 to evaluate the required private foundation payout rate as well as hypothetical model portfolios and actual investment returns.
In December 2020, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy (Johnson Center) at Grand Valley State University, in collaboration with Plante Moran Financial Advisors (PMFA), updated and expanded this research by using a comprehensive database of IRS Form 990-PF (private foundation) returns, adding international investments to the model portfolios, presenting actual payout rates of all private foundations in the dataset, and showing projections of how changes to the payout rate may affect future foundation assets. In March 2021, staff from the Johnson Center turned their focus to community foundations and completed a similar analysis — the first of its kind in the CMF foundation study series.
Similar to its earlier private and community foundation report counterparts, this report provides new information to the field. To study donor advised funds (DAFs), the project team leveraged the Johnson Center's comprehensive database of IRS Form 990 filings for summary statistics. The team supplemented that dataset by partnering with CMF to obtain account-level information about the more than 2,600 DAFs housed at Michigan's community foundations. That account-level detail was used to calculate individual DAF investment returns, contribution and distribution flows, and payout rates for the years 2017–2020.