A casual conversation with her financial advisors helped Amy von Walter get a stepWoman and dog at computer closer to achieving a goal she had set as a child.

“Growing up, I remember deciding I just wanted to make money so I could give it away,” she recalls. Amy can’t recall the moment in her childhood that inspired her desire for generosity–but her commitment hasn’t changed. Now in her forties, she says, “It’s never too early to start giving. Unlike our parents’ generation that tends to wait until later in life, we can be more proactive. I feel an obligation to do some good with the money I’ve earned.”

Amy and her financial advisors discovered they are involved with the same nonprofit organization, Every Meal, which fights child hunger by providing meals to families via local schools. Amy had wanted to be more intentional about her short- and long-term giving goals, and her advisors helped her do just that.

She learned about donor-advised funds from Thrivent Charitable and established her fund to make grants. “It’s a perfect way to formalize my giving,” she says. “The road is paved with good intentions, but I really wanted to make myself accountable to what I had envisioned.”

When Amy graduated from college, she was the first person in her extended family to do so. Her education and subsequent career in public relations are not something she takes for granted. “Now I have the ability to help other people with opportunities they otherwise might not have,” she says.

With her donor-advised fund, Amy supports nonprofits that offer students practical skills that will help them in school and in the workforce. Rêve Academy advances equity in student achievement and future employment in digital careers. Athletes Committed to Educating Students (ACES) brings math and other skills to life for underserved students in partnership with professional and collegiate sports teams.

“Life has exceeded my expectations, and it’s my turn to help support other people on their journey,” she says. Amy often volunteers at the organizations she supports financially.

She has found her donor-advised fund helps to oversee what she calls her “giving budget.” She says, “It’s easy to lose track of what you’re spending or not spending throughout the year on causes you want to support, and a donor-advised fund is an intentional way of managing those dollars.”

Having a donor-advised fund also changed the conversation regarding other aspects of Amy’s financial life. “Once my financial advisors knew my desire to give, they started managing my portfolio through that lens.”

The flexibility of donor-advised funds appeals to her too. She can designate grants to any number of causes she cares about and make changes over the years.