Charity Donation Check Signature

Fidelity Charitable has dispensed a record $1 billion in grants year to-date through March 13, representing a 42% increase compared to the same period last year.

“The extraordinary generosity of our donors, old and new, continues to humble us at Fidelity Charitable,” said Elaine Martyn, vice president and managing director, Private Donor Group at Fidelity Charitable, in a statement.

The $1 billion was distributed via more than 221,000 grants to 62,000 charities. Religious and human services charities received the largest number of grants, while education and religious nonprofit organization receive the most grant dollars. These donor recipients reflect the “giving priorities of the American public,” according to Martyn.

The donor-advised fund, which experienced a 20% increase in new accounts in 2017 and 25% increase in the number of grants issued compared to a year ago expects that 2018 will be another record-breaking year for charitable giving.

(Related: Fidelity Charitable Granted $4.5 Billion in 2017)

Since its inception in 1991, Fidelity Charitable, the largest donor-advised fund in the U.S., has dispensed more than $30 billion in donor-recommended grants, including $4.5 billion last year.

Martyn says Americans are becoming “increasingly aware” of the benefits of donor-advised funds to support the causes they care about.

Related: The Right Time to Rebalance — and Give to Charity)

Those benefits include an immediate income tax deduction for their contributions — up to 60% of adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash donations and up to 30% of AGI for donations of appreciated assets without incurring capital gains — and avoidance of estate taxes for DAF funds.

(Related: Schwab Charitable Grants Set Record in Unique Giving Environment)

In addition, donors get flexibility in dispensing the assets to charities, based on their own timetable. Once they make their donation to a fund and receive an immediate tax benefit, they can take their time before granting monies to specific charities, allowing the funds to grow tax-free in the meantime.