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Schwab, Fidelity Report Record Donor-Advised Fund Giving in 2015

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Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable this week reported record giving by their donor-advised fund account holders in 2015.

Fidelity Charitable’s donors recommended $3.1 billion in grants to support more than 106,000 charities, an 18% increase over grant recommendations in 2014.

Fidelity reported that it had made more than 733,000 donor-recommended grants last year.

It said grants ranged from $50 to millions of dollars, with an average grant size of $4,200, a small increase from 2014.

Mega-donors recommended 329 grants of $1 million or more, a 27% increase from a year earlier.

Fidelity said DAF account holders responded to several urgent needs in 2015, including some 600 recommendations totaling $3.3 million to support refugee relief and more than 6,000 grants totaling $8.3 million to support relief efforts following the earthquake in Nepal in April.

Contributions of noncash assets rose 18% over 2014, Fidelity said, and in November, it began accepting contributions of bitcoin, further expanding the range of assets donors can contribute. These include publicly traded stocks and mutual fund shares, real estate and privately held business interests.

Schwab Charitable distributed more than $1 billion in charitable grants on behalf of its donors in 2015, a 15% increase over the previous year.

More than 58,000 charities received grants, with Feeding America, Doctors without Borders, Red Cross and The Salvation Army among the most widely supported charities.

Schwab reported that 63% of contributions to its DAF accounts in 2015 were appreciated assets.

In a statement, Schwab noted research showing that Americans are among the most generous people in the world. Last year, 83% of U.S. households, 84% of millennials and 95% of families with an income of $75,000 or more donated to worthy causes.

Yet, total charitable giving has hovered around 2% of household disposable income for 40 years. 

Schwab said it has set itself the goal to help increase charitable giving beyond 2% of disposable income in the future by making it both “tax smart” and convenient.

It said a recent survey showed that some two-thirds of Schwab Charitable donors reported giving more than they otherwise would have because they had a DAF account.

— Check out NPT’s Heisman: Why Donor-Advised Funds Are Surging on ThinkAdvisor.