Schwab Charitable, a donor-advised fund sponsor, reported this week that it facilitated more than $1.6 billion in grants to 71,000 charities in 2017.

Schwab Charitable account holders recommended some 368,000 grants, 35% more than in 2016.

The report said the new federal tax legislation and robust market performance helped make 2017 a historic year for charitable giving.

“A combination of factors created a one-of-a-kind giving environment last year, and we’re thrilled that our efficient, tax-smart solution helped donors maximize the impact of their generosity,” Schwab Charitable’s president, Kim Laughton,said in a statement.  

“The changes to the tax code this year have made it even more important for donors and their financial advisors to plan giving over several years in order to fulfill their personal philanthropic mission and make the most of tax deductions at the same time.”

More than 70% of contributions to Schwab Charitable accounts were highly appreciated, noncash assets such as publicly traded securities, restricted stock and real estate. Donors were thereby able to maximize their charitable impact by avoiding capital gains tax, according to the report.

Donors’ charitable giving peaked in the second half of the year as equity and real estate prices reached record highs and the tax bill was signed into law. The number of new accounts opened at Schwab Charitable shot up 91% in the July-through-December period, compared with the same period in 2016.

In the same timeframe, Schwab Charitable donors recommended some 230,000 grants representing more than $900 million. Upward of $20 million in grants were designated for crisis relief efforts in response to a record number of natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes and the California wildfires.

Donors also responded to the changing American political environment and the needs of the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

Feeding America, the Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, Salvation Army and Doctors Without Borders were among the most widely supported charities in 2017.

Schwab Charitable’s annual giving report for fiscal 2017, ended June 30, provides further details of donors’ giving.

This week’s report noted that Schwab Charitable can help donors increase their impact by enabling them to group charitable deductions in higher income years and maintain support for their favorite causes in years when itemizing a charitable deduction may not be ideal.