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Financial Planning > Charitable Giving > Donor Advised Funds

Fidelity Charitable Ends DAF Account Minimums

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Fidelity Charitable, the nation’s largest donor-advised fund, has eliminated its $5,000 minimum contribution to create an account, effective immediately.

The fund said it made the change to provide more accessibility for the average American household that donates $2,600 annually to charity, according to data from the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy.

“The heart of our mission is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy, making it accessible, simple and effective for every donor, regardless of how much they give,” said Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable, in a statement. … As we approach our 30th anniversary, we are doubling down on our commitment to help families grow how much they give to nonprofits they care about.”

Norley added that two-thirds of donors give more as a result of having a DAF account, which she referred to as a “giving account.”

Donor-advised funds provide several tax benefits for individual donors, including immediate tax deductions for their donations before those funds are distributed to any charity, deductions for securities and other appreciated assets and a five-year carry-forward for unused deductions.

In addition, no capital gains tax is incurred on gifts of appreciated assets, DAFs are not subject to estate taxes and investments in a DAF grow tax-free. 

Once donations are made to a DAF, however, the fund, not the donor, takes control of the money, although the donor can direct what charity receives their donations. The fund charges an administrative fee of $100 or 0.6%, based on account balances plus investment fees ranging from 0.015% to 0.99%, depending on the investment funds chosen. 

Through early May, total grants from Fidelity Charitable topped $2.5 billion, up 18% from the previous year, including more than $236 million targeting nonprofits’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception in 1991, Fidelity Charitable has provided more than $42 billion in grants to over 300,000 nonprofit organizations.

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