Fidelity Charitable Donors Recommended $7.3 billion in Grants during 2019

Fidelity Charitable donors recommended $7.3 billion in grants from their donor-advised fund accounts in 2019, according to a report released yesterday. This far exceeds even the previous record of $5.2 billion set in 2018, underscoring the supercharged impact driven by use of donor-advised funds, the fastest-growing vehicle for giving in the U.S. Organizations working in veteran support, disaster relief, environmental protection and civil discourse saw increased support as these issue areas gained media prominence. The 2020 Giving Report provides key insights into the donors of Fidelity Charitable, the nation’s largest grantmaker. 

Highlights from the report:

Growth in granting

  • Donor-recommended grants are expected to increase as the Fidelity Charitable community expands, but the increase in grant dollars in 2019 far outpaced growth in accounts and contributions.

Trends in granting 

  • Donors are consistent and committed to their favorite charities: 74 percent of grants in 2019 went to a charity the donor had previously supported, demonstrating that strong relationships are often built between nonprofits and donor-advised fund donors. 
  • 60 percent of grant recommendations were designated to be used “where needed most,” giving nonprofits the flexibility to apply these funds to their most mission-critical prioritities.

Millennial donors

  • Millennial donors account for 13 percent of new Giving Accounts opened in 2019 – more than double five years ago. A focus on social justice issues and civil liberties appears to be stronger among Millennial donors.

Driving more impact to charities 

  • Since inception, Giving Account investment growth has generated $10.8 billion in charitable dollars available for grants above and beyond the original donor contributions. 
  • While most charitable contributions in the United States are made in cash, checks or credit cards, more than 60 percent of Fidelity Charitable contributions in 2019 were made in the form of more strategic non-cash assets, including publicly traded securities (stocks, bonds and mutual funds), non-publicly traded assets (private stock, restricted stock and limited partnership interests), and cryptocurrency.