American donors contributed $417 billion to charity last year, a 13% increase over 2012, the Atlas of Giving reported last week.
Several key factors combined to create a favorable atmosphere for philanthropy in 2013, Rob Mitchell, chief executive of the Atlas of Giving, said in a statement.
“Stock market growth fueled much of the giving but improving employment, growing real estate values, a lack of inflation, low interest rates and acceleration in GDP also helped to make 2013 an especially strong giving year,” Mitchell said.
“These conditions in the marketplace motivated many affluent donors to give — especially to universities and donor-advised funds. Giving appreciated stock or real estate is a great way to avoid paying capital gains tax, and many donors took advantage of the opportunity by making gifts involving such assets.”
Fidelity made some 518,000 grants totaling $2.1 billion on behalf of its account holders, a 29% increase over 2012. Schwab donors’ grants amounting to $742 million benefited more than 41,000 charities last year, a 36% increase.
Both organizations said in statements that appreciated securities accounted for a larger percentage of contributions from donors in 2013. For Schwab, two-thirds of contributions were appreciated securities, a five-year high.
Fidelity said publicly traded and non-publicly traded appreciated assets made up 62% of all contributions, up from 54% in 2012.