Fidelity Charitable (FC) donors recommended $7.3 billion in grants to 155,000 charities from their donor-advised fund accounts in 2019, according to a report released today. It exceeds the previous record of $5.2 billion set in 2018.
The data is part of Fidelity Charitable’s “2020 Giving Report.” Millennials grew as a force in philanthropy, representing 13 percent of new Giving Accounts in 2019 at Fidelity Charitable, the fund announced.
“The incredible impact that $7.3 billion will drive for nonprofits is a humbling reminder of the generosity of our donors,” said Pamela Norley, president of FC, via a statement. “When our donors make the decision to give with a donor-advised fund, they’re doing so to multiply the impact to charities they support and to dedicate dollars to making a difference in the lives of others.”
Donors give for a variety of reasons, but many are acutely personal, according to the FC report. When Carole O’Hare’s mother lost her life in the 9/11 attacks on Flight 93, the grief motivated her to help others. In 2019, she focused her donor-advised fund grant recommendations on organizations like the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. “So many who joined the military after 9/11 lost their lives or have been left disabled,” O’Hare says. “I feel like the best way to honor my Mom is to help veterans in any way I can,” according to statements in the report.
Additional highlights from the report include: Donor-recommended grants are expected to increase as the FC community expands, but the increase in grant dollars in 2019 far outpaced growth in accounts and contributions and donors are consistent and committed to their favorite charities; and, 74 percent of grants in 2019 went to a charity the donor had previously supported, demonstrating that strong relationships are often built between nonprofits and donor-advised fund donors.
More than 60 percent of Fidelity Charitable contributions in 2019 were made in the form of strategic non-cash assets, including publicly traded securities (stocks, bonds and mutual funds), non-publicly traded assets (private stock, restricted stock and limited partnership interests), and cryptocurrency.
A focus on social justice issues and civil liberties appears to be stronger among Millennial donors, with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Planned Parenthood and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services among the most popular charities.