BOSTON — Fidelity Charitable® donors recommended a record $3.1 billion in grants to support more than 106,000 charities in 2015, the highest level since launching the first national donor-advised fund program 25 years ago. Since inception, Fidelity Charitable, an independent charity, has made more than $21 billion in grants.
"Despite the market downturn this year, our donors continued to show dedication to giving back," said Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable. "One of the inherent strengths of donor-advised funds is that they enable sustained giving. Donors who contribute to donor advised funds irrevocably commit those funds to philanthropy. This makes their ability to give – year in and year out – less sensitive to market fluctuation and provides a source of ongoing support to thousands of charities nationwide."
Grants Rose 18 Percent in 2015
In 2015, Fidelity Charitable made more than 733,000 donor-recommended grants, an 18 percent increase from 2014, to support 106,000 charities.
- Grant amounts ranged from $50 to multi-million-dollar grants, with an average grant size of $4,200, a slight increase compared to 2014.
- Donors recommended 329 grants of $1 million or more, a 27 percent year-over-year increase in such grants.
Donors used their donor-advised funds to respond to urgent needs in 2015. For example, donors recommended nearly 600 grants, totaling $3.3 million to support refugee relief. Donors also supported relief efforts for the devastating earthquake in Nepal in April, drawing on the "ready reserves" in their donor-advised funds for more than 6,000 grants, totaling $8.3 million for the cause.
Expanding Giving for 25 Years
Since becoming a public charity in 1991, Fidelity Charitable has provided programs that democratize charitable giving, making it simple, effective and accessible. Donor-advised funds help to expand giving by encouraging more Americans to incorporate giving into their financial plans and by making charitable planning tools available to more people.
"One of the ways we simplify and expand giving is by monetizing assets that might not otherwise be available for charitable giving purposes. This enables donors to give the right asset at the right time and reduces cost for the nonprofit organizations they support," said Danforth.
Contributions of non-cash assets to Fidelity Charitable were up 18% over a year ago, and in November, Fidelity Charitable began accepting contributions of bitcoin. This move expanded the already broad range of assets donors can contribute, which includes publicly-traded stocks and mutual fund shares, real estate, privately-held business interests, and more.
In addition to enabling donors to give the right asset at the right time, Fidelity Charitable also offers tools and resources on its website to aid in developing a giving strategy. Last fall, a new, free suite of online resources, Boost Your Giving IQ, was created to help existing donors, and the public at large, become more effective in their giving. Nearly 40,000 people have engaged with these new resources on the Boost Your Giving IQ website, http://www.fidelitycharitable.org/smarter-giving/.
About Fidelity Charitable
Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 219,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $21 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to further the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving simple, effective, and accessible. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit http://www.fidelitycharitable.org.