Record $1.7 Billion From Vanguard’s DAF Donors

Donors to the Vanguard Charitable donor-advised fund (DAF) distributed another record number of grants to charities in the most recent fiscal year, for the third year in a row.

Donors recommended $1.7 billion in grants to more than 50,000 charities for the year ending June 30, 2021 — an increase of 9% compared to 2020. The record year was fueled by responses to racial injustice and inequality, pandemic and natural disaster relief and recovery and giving in support of nonprofits impacted by a contracting economy, according to Vanguard.

Human services nonprofits received the greatest number of grants — more than 43,000 — from Vanguard donors, including more than 13,000 grants to organizations focused on homelessness relief, followed by religious organizations (33,000 grants), education (25,000 grants), and health (22,000 grants).

Vanguard estimates that 85% of contributions in 2021 came from non-cash assets, such as securities, mutual funds and other complex or illiquid assets. The announcement did not include details of how much in contributions the DAF received for the year ending June 2021.

The Warwick, R.I.-based DAF reported $2.088 billion in contributions and $1.709 billion in grants and similar amounts paid with net assets of $10.8 billion on its most recently filed federal Form 990 for the year ending June 2020. More than $1.7 billion was distributed through 166,0058 grants to nonprofits, about 13% of assets, based on a five-year rolling average, according to data on the Form 990. The 574-page tax form was filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in May 2021.

Since its inception in 1997, Vanguard has eclipsed more than $12 billion in grants to nonprofits, which averages to about $500 million each year over that time.

Vanguard’s Nonprofit Aid Visualizer (NAVi) helps donors connect with nonprofits in their local communities and in areas hardest hit by the pandemic.

At Vanguard Charitable, the minimum to open a new DAF account is $25,000, with minimum additional contributions of $5,000 and a minimum grant to charity of $500. Accounts with balances of less than $15,000 may be subject to an annual maintenance fee of $250. On average, investment fees are 0.06%. Administrative fees are on a sliding scale based on assets, ranging from 0.6% on the first $500,000 to 0.05% or less for assets of more than $100 million.