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Fidelity, Schwab, NPT Report Strong Giving From Donor-Advised Funds

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Fidelity Charitable, National Philanthropic Trust and Schwab Charitable, sponsors of donor-advised funds, recently reported robust grant making by their account holders over the past year.

Organizations focused on education, cancer research, human services and feeding the hungry were among the main recipients of grants recommended by donors.

Fidelity and NPT are celebrating significant anniversaries this year, and Fidelity is taking the occasion to spur grant-making activity.

National Philanthropic Trust

NPT, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on July 10, issued 26,168 donor-recommended grants totaling more than $626 million in mission-critical funding to charities in its fiscal year 2016, ended June 30.

These grants supported nearly 11,000 U.S. and international charities.

“Over the past fiscal year, our donors recommended grants that furthered pediatric cancer research, supported employment opportunities for our nation’s veterans, built a no-kill animal shelter and improved access to clean water in developing countries,” NPT’s president and CEO, Eileen Heisman, said in a statement.

In the last 20 years, NPT reported, it has raised more than $6 billion in liquid and illiquid asset charitable contributions, and has made some 148,000 grants exceeding $3.6 billion to charities.

Schwab Charitable

Schwab Charitable reported $1.2 billion in grants by its donors to more than 56,000 charities in fiscal year 2016, ended June 30, a 12% increase over the previous fiscal year. This was the second consecutive year grants exceeded $1 billion, Schwab said in a statement.

The largest number of individual grants went to organizations focused on health and human services, religion and education.

More than $6.9 million also went to nonprofit groups such as Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee and Save the Children Foundation whose work included assisting Syrian war refugees with medical care, temporary shelter, food, clothing and other much-needed resources.

To make it easier for donors to support global crises and other international causes, Schwab Charitable in fiscal year 2016 began offering personalized guidance from professionals with experience in international granting.

“Despite a tumultuous year for stock markets and investments, donor-advised funds are proving to be a steady force in philanthropy, and we remain committed to providing our donors with simple, tax-smart and efficient solutions that help them give most effectively,” said Schwab Charitable’s president, Kim Laughton.

Schwab said one way it helps donors maximize the impact of their giving is by making it easy to contribute appreciated, noncash assets. It does this by handling the liquidation of noncash investments and assets. As well, in the past fiscal year, it eliminated basic consulting and processing fees for the most common types of complex assets donated to charity.

In fiscal year 2016, 59% of contributions into Schwab Charitable DAF accounts were noncash investments or assets.

Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable reported a record $1.6 billion in donor-recommended grants during the first half of 2016, a 14% increase over the first half of 2015.

The volume of grants also increased by 8% in the first half compared with the same time period last year, to more than 330,000 grants.

Besides its grant-making report, Fidelity also announced a new initiative to celebrate its 25th anniversary, designed to promote even more granting activity.

It challenged its donors to hit, and surpass, a benchmark of a cumulative $25 billion in 25 years in donor-recommended grants by Dec. 31.

In total, as of June 30, Fidelity Charitable had made $23.4 billion in donor-recommended grants since its founding in 1991.

“As I consider the more than 800,000 donor-recommended grants that we are projected to make this year, I am humbled by the power of generous individuals like you to make the world a better place,” Fidelity Charitable president Amy Danforth wrote in a letter to donors announcing the initiative.

“I ask you to consider the charitable organizations and causes you care most about and the opportunity to make a real difference for a nonprofit that needs it.”

Fidelity also reported the following highlights from its 25 years as a DAF sponsor:

  • Annual grant volumes jumped from more than 3,600 to upward of 750,000
  • Total grant dollars in a year rose from $14 million to $3.3 billion
  • The number of giving accounts increased by 4,000% to 82,539
  • The number of grants made per giving account rose from 1.9 to 9.2
  • Technology has been transformational, as nearly 90% of grants are now recommended online.

— Check out Morgan Stanley Expanding Philanthropy Efforts for Clients on ThinkAdvisor.


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