Schwab Charitable Grants Up 55%

November 3, 2014       Patrick Sullivan      

Schwab Charitable has made 55 percent more grants from its donor advised funds (DAFs) from the start of the organization’s July 1 fiscal year through the end of September than it did in the same three-month period in 2013. The total for this fiscal year, to date, is $201 million.

The San Francisco-based organization is on pace to distribute more than $1 billion by June 30, 2015. Schwab Charitable has made more than $4.6 billion in grants in its 15-year existence.

DAF holders can now recommend grants on mobile devices using Schwab’s mobile app for iOS and Android, according to the organization. “We can’t imagine a better way to celebrate our 15th anniversary than with a strong start to the giving season,” said Schwab Charitable President Kim Laughton. “Our donors are increasing their level of support at a much greater pace than those who do not use a donor-advised fund. They have the flexibility to recommend grants from virtually anywhere with their mobile devices.”

Laughton said that strong markets have driven a strong year in both contributions to and grants from DAF accounts. “Asset appreciation has made it possible for many donors to be even more generous this year than in the past,” she said. According to Laughton, appreciated assets accounted for 65 percent of the $1.8 billion contributed to Schwab DAF accounts last fiscal year.

“So far this is a record year, certainly on the granting side, and we’re running above last year on the contribution side, and last year was a record for contributions,” Laughton told The NonProfit Times. She said early last fiscal year a number of $100 million-plus accounts opened; discounting those outliers, contributions between July 1 and Sept. 30 this year are up more than 60 percent over the same period last year.

Laughton expects a strong giving season in the second quarter of Schwab Charitable’s fiscal year, Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. The organization traditionally sees about 40 percent of its contributions during that period. “I would expect that to be true this year, as long as the markets hold up,” she said.

As of June 30, Schwab Charitable had some $6.4 billion worth of assets under management. Account holders granted out $822 million to more than 34,500 organizations last fiscal year, which was an increase of 38 percent over FY 2013. Schwab Charitable ended its 2013 fiscal year with $1.8 billion in total revenue and $4.7 billion in net assets, according to its most recent Form 990. Laughton said the top three giving areas for Schwab clients are education, health and human services, and social benefit organizations.

It has been a strong year for DAFs. Boston-based Fidelity Charitable reported 370,000 grants totaling $1.6 billion in 2014’s first three quarters. That’s 27 percent higher than the first nine months of 2013. Fidelity DAF customers have paid more than $2 billion into their accounts in the first three quarters of 2014.