Fidelity Charitable Donors Granted $1.1 Billion in First Half

Donations of private business interests doubled to more than $100 million

Fidelity said first-half grants supported more than 59,000 nonprofits in all 50 states. Fidelity said first-half grants supported more than 59,000 nonprofits in all 50 states.

Fidelity Charitable, a donor-advised-fund sponsor, distributed nearly $1.1 billion in donor-recommended grants to charities during the first six months of this year, a record.

This was a 19% increase over the same period last year, Fidelity Charitable reported this week.

For the 2014 fiscal year, ended June 30, Fidelity distributed some $2.3 billion in grants on behalf of its account holders, a 23% increase from the previous year.

Fidelity said first-half grants supported more than 59,000 nonprofits in all 50 states as well as some international charities.

Donors contributed to a wide variety of charitable sectors, with human services, religion and education taking the largest share of grant volume and dollars.

Grants ranged from a modest $50 to millions of dollars. The average grant size was $4,330.

One hundred ten grants of $1 million or more recommended by donors totaled $241 million.

Fidelity said clients contributed $3.9 billion to their DAF accounts during the just-ended fiscal year, an 8% increase over the year before.

During the first half of 2014, they contributed some $1.2 billion, a 33% increase over last year’s first half.

The majority of these contributions took the form of appreciated assets. Securities accounted for 48% of contributions, and certain non-publicly traded assets for 9%.

Fidelity reported that its DAF program continued to grow at a brisk pace in the first half, with a 41% increase in new accounts over the year-ago period.

Focus on Impact

The contribution of complex assets, such as private business interests and other non-publicly traded assets, more than doubled in the first half compared with the same period last year to more than $100 million, according to the report.

Fidelity said the increase was driven by entrepreneurs who were selling their companies to retire, and by a rise in M&A deals that was significantly increasing the wealth of investors and entrepreneurs.

These trends have a big effect on philanthropy. “Donors are focused on maximizing efficiency and impact, and that starts with how they fund their philanthropy,” Fidelity Charitable President Amy Danforth said in the statement.

“Donating private business interests can be a powerful way to give, conferring tax efficiencies that enable donors to give over 20% more to their charitable causes in come cases."

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