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Fidelity Charitable’s Grants Up 41% From 2019
Identity-Based Philanthropy Has Risks And Rewards

Donors to Fidelity Charitable’s donor-advised funds hit a trifecta of records during 2021, topping out in donor-recommended grants (2.2 million), charities supported (187,000), and grant dollars distributed ($10.3 billion).

The $10.3 billion is 41% greater than pre-pandemic giving during 2019, according to data in Fidelity Charitable’s 2022 Giving Report. Fidelity Charitable had $35.36 billion in assets under management according to statistics in its 2020 annual report.

Donors also recommended grants at a more rapid pace — an average of 12.4 grants per account in 2021, compared to 7.4 a decade ago. The average dollar amount of each grant has also grown, from $3,775 in 2012 to $4,407 in 2021, data in the report shows.

Contributions of cryptocurrency increased nearly 12-fold during 2021, to $331 million compared to the slightly more than $28 million contributed in 2020. Of those digital currency donations, approximately 88% was in Bitcoin, 11% in Ethereum and 1% in other digital currencies (i.e. Litecoin). 

The digital currency is part of the 66% of contribution dollars to Fidelity Charitable that were in the form of non-cash assets, according to report data. In addition to publicly traded stock, many donors contributed assets such as privately-held business shares and restricted stock, bringing the total converted into cash available for granting to more than $10 billion since the firm launched in 1991.

More grants went to organizations supporting Asian Americans, who faced a rise in hate incidents related to the pandemic — there was an 800% increase in accounts supporting Asian Americans Advancing Justice, for example, and the Asian Pacific Fund saw a 590% increase.

Arts and culture organizations saw a marked increase in their portion of grant dollars — $351 million more in 2021 than in 2020 — reflecting donor concern for the many arts organizations that struggled throughout the pandemic due to lost revenue from canceled performances, classes, and fundraiser events, according to authors of the report.

Donors also continued to support relief for emergency situations both domestically and internationally, such as the refugee crisis in Afghanistan and natural disasters throughout the United States.

Giving Account assets allocated to impact investments increased to $3 billion in 2021 — a 67% increase from 2020. Fidelity Charitable launched a new impact pool in 2021, giving donors five sustainable and impact investment options that they can include in their investment recommendations for funds in their Giving Account. 

Impact investing is the idea that organizations or financial vehicles can help achieve social benefits while also generating financial returns. The increasing popularity of impact investing in recent years signals the strategy’s move from a relatively niche concept to a trend gaining in support among individual donors at all levels.

“The phenomenal giving we saw from Fidelity Charitable donors in 2020 continued to grow in 2021, showing us that this increase in generosity is a sustainable trend,” said Fidelity Charitable President Jacob Pruitt. “Charitable donors stepped up yet again to help their neighbors and make a difference in their communities.”

For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit www.fidelitycharitable.org