Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program enjoyed record growth in contributions last year, thanks to foundation and corporate cash gifts that increased above historical patterns, according to a statement released Wednesday. These gifts constituted 70% of total contribution dollars in 2011.

Vanguard Charitable, a public charity, also reported strong growth in new accounts and grants recommended.

The organization provided these details:

  • Contributions into the donor-advised fund surpassed $859 million in 2011, an increase of more than 75% from 2010, and a high in the organization’s 14-year history.
  • The number of new accounts opened at Vanguard Charitable increased nearly three-fold to 987 during 2011, another record.
  • The number of grants recommended from Vanguard Charitable DAF accounts increased by more than 10%, with some 37,000 grants totaling approximately $495 million donated to other charities.

Vanguard attributed the surge in new DAF accounts to renewed interest in donating appreciated stock and mutual funds.

“Gifts of securities continue to be the most tax-effective way to give,” Vanguard Charitable’s president Benjamin Pierce said in the statement. “While cash contributions provided the lion’s share of dollars to the program, tax-effective donations of long-term stocks and mutual funds from individuals grew steadily and significantly in 2011 from their 2008-2009 lows.”

Last year, grant dollars and units from Vanguard Charitable went mainly to these areas: 24% of grants recommended in 2011 went to social services, 22% to education and 20% to religious organizations.

Since its inception in 1997, Vanguard Charitable has received over $5.4 billion in contributions to the donor-advised fund while granting away $3.3 billion across the country, the statement said.