Fidelity Charitable, which operates the nation’s largest donor-advised fund program, today announced that its donors’ generosity reached an all-time high in 2011, setting records both for incoming contributions to Fidelity Charitable and for the dollar amount of grants made to charitable organizations.

Fidelity Charitable donors made more than 380,000 grants, totaling more than $1.3 billion, to nonprofits nationwide during 2011, both up 8 percent compared with 2010. Both of these totals represent the strongest year for outgoing grants to charities in Fidelity Charitable’s 20-year history, making 2011 the fifth consecutive year that donors have recommended grants of more than $1 billion, and bringing to $12 billion the total of outgoing grants since Fidelity Charitable’s inception. Donors also made record-breaking contributions to their Giving Accounts in 2011, with nearly $2.9 billion being recorded in new charitable dollars, up from more than $1.6 billion in 2010.

“The degree and momentum of charitable activity we saw from donors in 2011 was extraordinary,” said Sarah Libbey, president of Fidelity Charitable. “Donors — many with guidance from their advisors — are increasingly turning to donor-advised funds to meet their charitable giving needs. Our results reflect our donors’ deep commitment to giving and finding strategic ways to do more.”

Continued Increases in Contributions of Appreciated Securities and Complex Assets

With the U.S. stock market improving 86 percent from its recession lows, donors once again turned to their stock portfolios and other non-cash assets to fund their charitable giving. Donations in the form of appreciated securities were 71 percent of total incoming contributions, up from 51 percent in 2010. Fidelity Charitable also experienced a significant increase in donations of complex assets — such as privately held C- and S-corp stock, limited partnership interests and restricted stock — with contributions of these types of assets up 30 percent in 2011 compared with 2010.

Other drivers of growth in 2011 included Fidelity Charitable’s continued focus on providing services to advisors who manage their clients’ Giving Accounts. Efforts included increased outreach and guidance on charitable strategies as well as improved technology that allows advisors to better integrate their clients’ charitable giving with their broader financial plans. Key enhancements for both advisors and donors included:

  • GivingCentralSM — Fidelity Charitable launched in December a new technology platform and a dedicated advisor service team for advisors who manage their clients’ Giving Accounts at Fidelity Charitable.
  • Enhanced Investment Options — Fidelity Charitable introduced a full spectrum of asset allocation pools — and a new online tool — designed to simplify decision-making for donors as they decide how their charitable contributions should be invested.
  • Expanded Complex Assets Consultation — Fidelity Charitable expanded its dedicated team and consultation service for donors and advisors interested in donating closely held, illiquid assets.
  • Enhanced Giving Account History — To provide donors with greater analytics about their grant history, Fidelity Charitable enhanced its web site to allow donors to organize and track the grant recommendations they have made since the inception of their Giving Account.

“As more donors seek to make a greater impact with their charitable dollars, they are becoming smarter about the types of assets they’re giving, the giving vehicles they are using, and how their charitable contributions are invested,” said Libbey. “Making it easy for donors and advisors to do all of these things — and ultimately to make more of a difference for causes they care about — is our charitable mission, and will continue to be critical as more donors prioritize giving and seek to make every dollar count.”

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity, established in 1991, with the mission to further the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving simple and effective. Since its inception, the program has helped donors support more than 150,000 nonprofit organizations with over $12 billion in grants.

Fidelity Charitable is the brand name for Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund, an independent public charity with a donor-advised fund program. Various Fidelity companies provide services to Fidelity Charitable. The Fidelity Charitable name and logo are service marks, and Fidelity is a registered service mark, of FMR LLC, used by Fidelity Charitable under license. Giving Account is a registered service mark of the Trustees of Fidelity Charitable.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.


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