Grants from Schwab Charitable, a donor-advised fund, increased by 55 percent during the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, putting the fund in a position to top $1 billion in grants in fiscal 2015, Schwab Charitable has announced.

Grants for the first quarter (July through September) rose to $201 from $130 million last year, a 55 percent increase. During the last fiscal year, $822 million in grants were distributed. The biggest giving season is coming up over the December holidays.

The increase in giving is attributed to appreciating assets and improving investor confidence, says Schwab. Schwab Charitable also announced new tools that allow donors to make grants from mobile devices.

Because the market has fared well over the last five years, appreciated assets could make good tax-advantaged gifts this year, says Schwab. These assets may include publicly-traded securities such as stocks, ETFs, and mutual fund shares, along with less liquid assets such as IPO shares, real estate, restricted stock, seasoned private equity funds and privately-held business interests.

When donors hold appreciated assets for more than one year and then give them directly to public charities, they generally owe no capital gains tax, Schwab says.

Charitable giving as a whole is on an increase as donors feel more confident giving, according to the Giving 2014 report by the Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Last year Americans gave $335 billion in charitable gifts, a 4.4 percent increase over two years before and the fourth consecutive year of an increase.