Fidelity Charitable, which operates the U.S.’s largest donor-advised fund program, has announced that its donors’ generosity reached an all-time high in 2011, setting records both for incoming contributions to Fidelity Charitable and for the dollar amount of grants made to charitable organizations.
Fidelity Charitable donors made more than 380,000 grants, totaling more than $1.3 billion, to nonprofits nationwide during 2011, both up 8 percent compared with 2010. Both of these totals represent the strongest year for outgoing grants to charities in Fidelity Charitable’s 20-year history, making 2011 the fifth consecutive year that donors have recommended grants of more than $1 billion, and bringing to $12 billion the total of outgoing grants since Fidelity Charitable’s inception. Donors also made record-breaking contributions to their Giving Accounts in 2011, with nearly $2.9 billion being recorded in new charitable dollars, up from more than $1.6 billion in 2010.
With the U.S. stock market improving 86 percent from its recession lows, donors once again turned to their stock portfolios and other non-cash assets to fund their charitable giving. Donations in the form of appreciated securities were 71 percent of total incoming contributions, up from 51 percent in 2010. Fidelity Charitable also experienced a significant increase in donations of complex assets – such as privately held C- and S-corp stock, limited partnership interests and restricted stock – with contributions of these types of assets up 30 percent in 2011 compared with 2010.
Other drivers of growth in 2011 included Fidelity Charitable’s continued focus on providing services to advisors who manage their clients’ Giving Accounts. Efforts included increased outreach and guidance on charitable strategies as well as improved technology that allows advisors to better integrate their clients’ charitable giving with their broader financial plans.