Boston-based Fidelity Charitable has announced that its donor-advised funds awarded a record $7.28 billion in grants in 2019, an increase of 39 percent on a year-over-year basis and of more than 500 percent compared with 2010.
According to the organization's 2020 Giving Report (32 pages, PDF), robust stock market returns contributed to the result, with donors recommending 1.5 million grants to 155,000 charities in 2019, up from 840,000 grants to 142,000 charities in 2018. The number of DAF accounts at Fidelity Charitable has more than doubled since 2009, to 138,019 in 2019, up 12 percent from 123,114 in 2018. The report also notes that while donors under the age of 40 make up only 8 percent of all account holders, millennials were responsible for 13 percent of new accounts opened in 2019, more than double their share in 2014; that the nonprofits receiving grants recommended by the largest number of millennial donors' accounts in 2019 were Planned Parenthood, the ACLU Foundation, the Wikimedia Foundation, Doctors Without Borders USA, and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES); and that the nonprofits with the highest growth rates in support from millennials last year were the Environmental Defense Fund, ProPublica, the American Cancer Society, the Nature Conservancy, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
There were no significant changes in 2019 in the top twenty charities receiving support from the largest number of Fidelity Charitable accounts, while 74 percent of all grants awarded went to a charity the donor had previously supported. In terms of issue area, education has consistently received the most grant dollars (27 percent in 2019) since Fidelity Charitable launched its Giving Report in 2013, while religion consistently has received the largest number of grants (27 percent). According to the report, 60 percent of grant recommendations in 2019 were designated to be used "where needed most," while the average amount of a grant awarded from a donor-advised account has increased from $3,399 to $4,358 since 2010. And of every $100 contributed to a donor-advised account, $38 was granted out within a year, $76 within five years, and $88 within ten years.
The report also notes that 62 percent of charitable dollars contributed to Fidelity Charitable DAF accounts in 2019 were in the form of non-cash assets, including publicly traded securities such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds (53 percent) and non-publicly traded assets such as private stock, restricted stock, and limited partnership interests (9 percent).