Contributions to Schwab’s donor-advised fund (DAF) accounts increased 30 percent from 2017 to about $3.9 billion, according to preliminary reporting. Contributions were accepted in calendar year 2018 as long they were postmarked by Dec. 31 and some of those may have required additional time to be processed, according to a spokeswoman.
DAF account holders recommended more than 487,000 grants, up 32 percent from the 368,000 in 2017. Among the most widely supported grant recipients last year were Feeding America, Planned Parenthood, Doctors Without Borders, Salvation Army, and Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru).
During the last three months of 2018, donors recommended more than 210,600 grants totaling $807 million, up from 163,600 grants totaling $655 million in Q4 2017.
More than two-thirds of contributions to Schwab Charitable accounts were in the form of non-cash assets last year. The most popular assets contributed in 2018 included publicly-traded securities, restricted stock, real estate and privately held business interests.
The figures released this week were for the calendar year 2018. In its most recent tax information Form 990 filing, for the year ending June 2017, San Francisco, Calif.-based Schwab Charitable reported total contributions of $3.078 billion and grants of $1.56 billion.
“Our extraordinary donors demonstrated that giving can flourish in a range of tax and market environments,” Kim Laughton, president of Schwab Charitable said in a press release announcing the 2018 details. “Under the new tax law, charitable giving is a relative bright spot for donors who itemize because the charitable deduction was preserved while several other popular deductions were capped or eliminated,” she added.
Anecdotally, some donors opted to concentrate their charitable contributions in 2018 by donating a few years of gifts to their DAF, a strategy referred to as bunching, according to the press release. However, Schwab Charitable was unable to measure the number of contributions received as a result of “bunching.” It’s too early to tell what impact “bunching” will have on 2019 contributions and multiple years of giving data will be necessary before they can see impact of the new tax law on giving behavior, according to a spokeswoman.