Fidelity Charitable has announced that its donor-advised funds awarded a record-breaking $3.5 billion in grants in 2016 — a surge that continued into the first half of 2017, with donors recommending nearly $2 billion in grants, including nearly $9 million in bitcoin.
As reported in a preliminary analysis in February and confirmed by the public charity's 2017 Giving Report (28 pages, PDF), Fidelity donor-advised funds awarded 849,000 grants to more than 114,00 charities in 2016, with more donors recommending grants to groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the International Rescue Committee, and Doctors Without Borders. At the same time, three-quarters of the grants awarded in 2016 went to charities donors had previously supported, while $1.8 billion of the total grant dollars were directed to organizations in donors' home states.
The report also found that the number of Fidelity DAF accounts has nearly doubled since 2007, from 47,000 to more than 90,000; that Fidelity donors today support twice as many charities as they did ten years ago; and that three-quarters of donors' contributed dollars are granted within five years of receipt. According to the study, Fidelity donors converted a record $796 million in non-publicly traded assets in 2016, including nearly $125 million in contributions of restricted stock, as well as bitcoin, privately held stock, and life insurance policies. They also increased their support for impact investments, which has nearly doubled over the past five years, to $19.1 million. The report notes that donors increasingly are recommending that their account balances be invested in Fidelity Charitable's impact investing pool.
"At Fidelity Charitable, we're fortunate to have a front-row seat to transformations taking place in giving," said Fidelity Charitable president Pam Norley. "Impact investing is one trend that seems to be on an upward trajectory; what hasn't changed is the motivation and drive of donors to maximize their ability to make a difference and the power of donor-advised funds to help them do it."