2015 Fidelity Charitable Grants Driven by Disasters, Social Giving

In its fourth annual giving report, Fidelity Charitable reports that its more than eighty thousand donor-advised funds awarded grants totaling $3.1 billion in 2015, once again making it the second largest U.S. grantmaking organization, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to the 2016 Fidelity Charitable Giving Report (28 pages, PDF), nearly 734,000 grants were awarded to more than 106,000 organizations in 2015, with increases in giving to relief organizations and for social fundraising events. In the aftermath of a major earthquake in Nepal and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria, grants to UNICEF and Oxfam jumped 38 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Group participation in giving activities such as charity walks also increased, especially for nonprofits focused on health care and medical research such as the Alzheimer's Association (up 39 percent) and the Pan-Mass Challenge (up 26 percent), a Massachusetts-based bike-a-thon that raises money for cancer research.

According to the report, 71 percent of Fidelity Charitable donors with at least $100,000 in investable assets gave more than $10,000 in 2015, compared with 42 percent of similarly affluent donors who do not use DAFs. The report also found that affluent donors who use DAFs were more likely to support six or more charities than those who don't (85 percent vs. 36 percent), to include family members in decisions about their giving (82 percent vs. 53 percent), and to have a bequest or charitable legacy vehicle (42 percent vs. 15 percent).

"Fidelity Charitable donors support an extraordinary range of organizations, with more than a hundred and six thousand nonprofits receiving grants last year," said Fidelity Charitable president Amy Danforth. "While most who give have organizations and causes that they support year-in and year-out, those who use donor-advised funds have a dedicated account for charitable giving, which enables them not only to provide ongoing support to their favorite charitable causes, but also to more easily and quickly respond to meet new needs as they emerge."