Schwab Charitable donors are responding to the needs of Covid-19 victims by reaching deep into their pockets, according to Schwab Charitable’s 2020 fiscal year report, which includes the first six months of this year.

From January through June, donors recommended giving more than $1.7 billion through 330,000 grants, marking a 46% increase in dollars granted and a 44% increase in the number of grants compared to 2019, Schwab Charitable announced Wednesday.

This represents the fastest pace of growth in the second half of a fiscal year since Schwab Charitable’s inception in 1999. The fiscal year for Schwab Charitable, which is a donor advised fund, runs from July through June.

The increase in giving for the pandemic-dominated first six months of this year was part of a fiscal year that also saw record total donations for the year. Donors gave $3.3 billion to support more than 100,000 charities, an increase of 33% over the 2019 fiscal year. Fidelity Charitable reported similar increases.

It is too early in the Covid-19 crisis to know if the unprecedented giving seen so far this year will be continued into the rest of the calendar year, Kim Laughton, president of Schwab Charitable, said in an interview with Financial Advisor magazine. 

“Our donors’ unwavering support for charities year after year is remarkable, and this year I’m especially proud that they have met these extraordinary times with even more generosity to support those who need it most,” said Laughton. “This last six months have been incredibly challenging, and I am truly inspired to see donors utilize their donor-advised funds to help communities and nonprofits impacted by health, economic and social crises.”

Laughton said she would anticipate an increase in donations to social services and health organizations to continue into the next fiscal year.

From mid-February through the end of June, Schwab Charitable donors earmarked more than $145 million specifically for charities providing relief for communities impacted by Covid-19, Schwab Charitable said. The charities recommended by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy for Covid-19 relief saw a 250% increase in dollars granted year over year. Throughout the fiscal year, three-quarters of donors dedicated a portion of their giving to organizations within their own state.

Basic needs have dramatically increased, so donors are giving more to local food banks, church food pantries and homeless shelters, Schwab said.

Schwab Charitable has tried to help those donors who want to have an impact on the pandemic by informing them of charities recommended by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy that address major areas impacted by Covid-19. It has identified resources for helping local communities such as Giving Compass and the National Center for Family Philanthropy.

Despite recent market volatility, equities are now up and donors are giving non-cash assets to charity. In fiscal year 2020, 64% of contributions to Schwab Charitable were such things as publicly traded securities, restricted stock and privately held business interests.

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