Fidelity Investments on Wednesday said its donor-advised fund program reported both the number of grants and the amount of money granted set records for the strongest activity in the first half of a calendar year.

The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund said donors made more than 152,000 grants totaling $531 million to charities across the U.S. Those six-month amounts represented 27% and 16% increases, respectively, over the year-earlier period. Fidelity said the Gift Fund, a non-profit organization created in 1991, is the nation's largest donor-advised fund program and third largest public charity.

Overall contributions to the Gift Fund jumped 67% during the first half, fueled in part by a 19% rise in new accounts established at its Giving Account donor-advised fund, which is the vehicle that facilitates individual charitable contributions.

Fidelity said 51% of first-half contributions came from appreciated securities, versus 32% during the year-earlier period.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, incoming contributions to the Gift Fund totaled $1.3 billion--a 39% gain over the prior year. And donors recommended $1.1 billion in grants to nonprofits, an 11% gain.