The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund today said it has broadened investment options in the donor-advised fund program to include alternative investments such as hedge funds, hedge fund of funds and private equity funds.

These investment options are available through the fund's Charitable Investment Advisor Program, which lets financial advisors actively manage customized portfolios for donors with a Giving Account of at least $250,000. Existing investment options include stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

The inclusion of alternative investments is a nod to growing interest in the space. A survey by Fidelity Investments last year found 82% of advisors view alternatives as important to their clients' investment goals. And Fidelity notes that a recent Spectrem Group study showed that half of households worth $25 million or more own hedge funds and 56% own private equity.

"Adding alternative investments to the Charitable Investment Advisor Program allows advisors to diversify and potentially increase investment returns in their clients' charitable portfolios, ultimately enabling donors to grant more to the causes they care about," said Sarah C. Libbey, president of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.

The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund is an independent public charity affiliated with Fidelity Investments. It bills itself as the nation's largest donor-advised fund program. Since its inception in 1991, the fund says it has helped donors support more than 136,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $10 billion in grants.

The fund has also introduced a private donor group to support advisors and high-net-worth donors with Giving Account balances of at least $1 million by providing guidance on the types of assets donors can contribute, ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of grantmaking, and providing updates on legislative action affecting philanthropy, among other things.