Fidelity Charitable donors continued to break records in 2019, recommending $4 billion in grants, a 48% increase compared to the same period last year. The 668,000 donor-recommended grants supported 105,000 charities. This grantmaking record follows an unprecedented $5.2 billion in grants in 2018, $700 million more than the previous year. Since its inception in 1991, Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity and the nation’s largest grantmaker, has made more than $35 billion in donor-recommended grants to more than 278,000 charities.
With funds already committed to a charitable purpose, donors with donor-advised funds are able to sustain a consistent level of support and have greater impact in the areas that they care about—donors like Dorothy and John Oehler, who established their Giving Account® in 1999. The couple is passionate about animal welfare and wildlife conservation, supporting a number of animal-related charities, including the nonprofit animal sanctuary Chimp Haven. A private refuge of 200 acres near Shreveport, LA, Chimp Haven provides more than 270 chimpanzees—many retired from biomedical research facilities–with a natural environment of freedom and tranquility.
Dorothy, a Mars scientist, and John, a novelist writing thrillers, credit their Giving Account® for enabling them to organize their giving and be strategic with their donations versus their previous, more scattershot approach to giving that was less impactful. In 2017, in anticipation of tax reform, they made a larger-than-usual contribution into their Giving Account that they will use to support their favorite charities for several years, a tactic known as “bunching.”
Bunching can be a powerful strategy for generous givers who don’t want to miss out on the tax advantages of their gifts in a new tax environment where fewer individuals are itemizing their deductions. Taking this approach is helping the Oehlers give more to charity and save more on taxes in the long run. “Our Giving Account really makes it so much easier for us that it allows us probably to give more,” Dorothy said. “It seems like a small way that individuals can leave a mark on society…and those are the things that make society great.”
“The strong rate of grant activity from donors who use a Giving Account underscores how donor-advised funds have become a growing source of reliable nonprofit support during periods of uncertainty or market volatility, such as the dramatic market drop we saw at the end of last year,” said Pamela Norley, President, Fidelity Charitable. “At a time when individuals may be continuing to make adjustments to their charitable giving as a result of tax reform, donor-advised funds are more important than ever as a stabilizing force for giving.”
Fidelity Charitable expands cryptocurrency donation options to include Ripple
To help donors maximize their charitable giving, Fidelity Charitable continues to innovate to enable donations of assets that might otherwise be difficult to donate. The addition of Ripple expands the existing array of assets, including bitcoin, that donors can contribute into their donor-advised funds to fuel their philanthropy. Since 2015, Fidelity Charitable donors have contributed more than $106 million in cryptocurrencies. With the donation of long-term appreciated assets and other non-publicly traded assets, donors are able to give up to 20% more because capital gains taxes are minimized, and that ultimately means more money to charity.
Last year, contributions of non-publicly traded assets crossed a new all-time threshold, with more than $1 billion in complex assets—such as private stock, limited partnership interest, real estate or cryptocurrency—converted to funds available for grantmaking. Since inception, Fidelity Charitable’s complex asset program has generated $6 billion in funds available for charitable grantmaking.
About Fidelity Charitable
Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 278,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $35 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit https://www.fidelitycharitable.org.