Fidelity Charitable granted some $2 billion, including $9 million in bitcoin, on behalf of its donor-advised-fund account holders in the first six months of 2017, a 25% increase over the first half of last year.
This continued a trend from 2016 during which donors recommended granting a record-breaking $3.5 billion to support more than 114,000 nonprofit organizations, Fidelity Charitable reported Tuesday.
Grantees were mainly smaller local groups. In 2016, $1.8 billion of grant dollars when to nonprofits in donors’ home states.
Seventy-two percent of the 849,000 grants that donors recommended last year were for charities they had previously supported.
The report said the annual list of popular nonprofits, ones that receive support from 1,000 or more giving accounts, expanded from 21 to 30 charities last year.
Many groups on the list appear year after year at a relatively similar position. In the latest iteration, Doctors Without Borders USA and The Salvation Army held on to the number one and two spots, while The American Red Cross and The United Way exchanged places for third and fourth positions.
Several charities moved up on the list in response to the November general election: Planned Parenthood jumped three spots to number seven.
At the same time, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Natural Resources Defense Council came onto the list for the first time.
In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, donations increased to Doctors Without Borders and International Rescue Committee, which made its first appearance on the list.
In November, IRC became the first global organization to be named to the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.
“Donor-advised funds are an ideal way for people to make a difference because they help donors stay nimble to immediately respond to unforeseen world events, while maintaining their commitment to their core giving interests,” Fidelity Charitable president Pam Norley said in a statement.
The report said that although most donors who have noncash assets still give with cash, checks and credit cards, this was beginning to change.
In 2016, Fidelity Charitable accepted a record $796 million of non-publicly traded assets into donors’ giving accounts, including nearly $125 million in contributions of restricted stock, as well as assets as varied as private stock, life insurance policies and some $8 million in bitcoin.
Since its inception, the report said, Fidelity Charitable has assisted in converting $3.1 billion of non-publicly traded assets into charitable dollars available for grants.
Impact Investing Grows
According to the report, support of impact-investing nonprofit groups has nearly doubled over the past five years to 3,150 donor-recommended grants totalling $19.1 million in 2016.
In all, Fidelity Charitable said, it has made $73 million in grants to these groups over a five-year period.
The report noted that impact investing has been a niche concept until recently, but growth in support across a wide breadth of giving accounts indicates that it may become a more mainstream trend.
In 2016, leading impact investors committed a total of $22 billion into some 8,000 impact investments, and planned to significantly increase capital invested and number of investments this year, the Global Impact Investing Network recently reported.
“At Fidelity Charitable, we’re fortunate to have a front-row seat to transformations taking place in giving,” Norley said. “Impact investing is one trend that seems to be on an upward trajectory.”
— Related on ThinkAdvisor: