Fidelity Charitable has distributed more than 250,000 donor-recommended grants totaling nearly $1.1 billion during the first six months of 2014, the firm announced today. This is a 19 percent increase from the previous record of nearly $919 million distributed in the first half of 2013.

“We hear from our donors that they are feeling more confident as the economy continues to recover, and are reflecting that optimism in their charitable giving,” said Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable.

Grants supported more than 59,000 charities across all 50 states and some international charities, with human services, religion and education ranking among the top sectors by grant volume and dollars.

Donors also contributed nearly $1.2 billion to Fidelity Charitable, a 33 percent increase from the same period last year. The majority of contributions were in the form of appreciated assets. Donations of securities, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds, accounted for 48 percent of contributions, and complex assets, such as private business interests and other non-publicly traded assets, accounted for nine percent of contributions.

In the first half of 2014, the contribution of complex assets more than doubled from the same period last year to over $100 million. The increase was partially driven by entrepreneurial baby boomers who are selling their companies to retire, says Fidelity.

“Donating private business interests can be a powerful way to give, conferring tax efficiencies that enable donors to give over 20 percent more to their charitable causes in some cases,” said Danforth.

Fidelity Charitable also announced that for its 2014 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, the firm distributed nearly $2.3 billion in grants on behalf of its donors, a 23 percent increase from the previous year, and donors contributed $3.9 billion to their donor-advised funds, an eight percent increase.