Fidelity Charitable's donor-advised fund, the nation's largest, today reported it had set records in 2011 for both incoming contributions and dollar amount of grants made to charitable organizations.
Donors made more than 380,000 grants, totaling more than $1.3 billion, to nonprofits nationwide during 2011, both up 8 percent over 2010. The 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 started in 1991.
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.
Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity whose mission is to 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.
"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."
Donations in the form of appreciated securities were 71 percent of total incoming contributions, up from 51 percent in 2010.
Fidelity Charitable also posted a hefty 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 growth drivers 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.