In the third annual giving report, Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity established by financial services giant Fidelity Investments in 1991, reports that more than 72,000 of its donor-advised funds awarded a total of $2.6 billion to over 97,000 organizations in 2014, making it second largest grantmaking organization in the United States, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to the 2015 Fidelity Charitable Giving Report (28 pages, PDF), an average of 8.3 grants were awarded per Fidelity donor-advised account in 2014, up slightly from 7.9 the previous year, while the average size of a grant increased to $4,138, up from just over $4,000 in 2013. The report also found that the largest share of grant dollars (29 percent) went to education, while the largest share of grants (27 percent) supported religious organizations. In addition, while the median balance of a Fidelity donor-advised fund was $16,097 in 2014, the number of $1 million-plus grants awarded from those funds rose steeply, on a year-over-year basis, to 272, accounting for 23 percent of all grant dollars.
Based on a survey of more than a thousand Fidelity Charitable donors, the report found that respondents also support causes they are passionate about through direct giving (91 percent), community foundations (9 percent), and private foundations (6 percent). On average, donors reported using a donor-advised fund for 65 percent of their household’s charitable giving, although donors under the age of 65 were more likely than older donors to respond to requests from friends, support charities with which they are not familiar, make donations of less than $50, and provide direct support to individuals.