PROVIDENCE – Breaking its previous record of $3.5 billion in 2016, Fidelity Charitable awarded $4.5 billion through more than one million grants to roughly 127,000 nonprofit organizations across the United States and grew its donor base by more than 80 percent in 2017, according to the Fidelity Charitable 2018 Giving Report.
In a release accompanying the report, Fidelity Charitable called 2017 a “hallmark” year for donor-advised fund giving due to the strong economic markets, the tax reform passed by the Trump administration, the appreciation of non-cash assets including cryptocurrency and also because donor-advised funds have become the “vehicle of choice for charitable giving.”
Five hundred and five of the more than one million grants made in 2017 were $1 million or more – a 25 percent increase in $1 million-plus grants since 2016.
Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable, said in prepared remarks: “Donor-advised funds allow givers to take a more strategic look at how they give, while also facilitating in-the-moment granting.”
Expanding its donor base by 83 percent, Fidelity Charitable added 30,000 new donors across more than 21,000 giving accounts – 56 percent of which had balances of less than $25,000. Today, Fidelity Charitable’s donor base stands at nearly 180,000 donors and more than 108,000 giving accounts.
In the cryptocurrency realm, Fidelity Charitable received $69 million – 10 times the 2016 amount – in cryptocurrency donations as part of $1 billion in previously non-publically traded assets.
In her statement Norley characterized current philanthropy as standing at “an inflection point” with donors “looking at how to best impact the causes they care about the most.”
And the data backs up her assertion.
Report data reflects 2017 donors increasingly gave to charities which addressed disaster relief – nearly $60 million through more than 21,000 donor-recommended grants – as well as civil liberties and the environment. According to the report, the top three most popular charities among Fidelity charitable donors in 2017 were the American National Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders USA and The Salvation Army.
Other popular charities included St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Nature Conservancy, the ACLU Foundation and the American Heart Association.
In 2015, Fidelity Charitable awarded $3.1 billion in grants to 106,000 charities while it awarded $3.5 billion through more than 75,000 grants to 110,000 nonprofit organizations in 2016.