DAF Accounts Soared In 2017

Tax reform and a strong stock market led to a boom in the creation of donor-advised giving accounts last year while a string of disasters contributed to record grantmaking by donors to Schwab Charitable.

Schwab Charitable announced yesterday that it facilitated more than $1.6 billion in grants to 71,000 charities last year. Donors recommended about 368,000 grants, up 36 percent over 2016.

The number of new accounts nearly doubled in the second half of the year, jumping by 91 percent compared July-December 2016. More than 70 percent of contributions to Schwab Charitable were appreciated, non-cash assets like publicly-traded securities, restricted stock and real estate.

Donors supported 61,000 charities and recommended approximately 273,000 grants in 2016, which was up 17 percent from 233,000 grants the previous year. The $1.5 billion in grants in 2016 was up 41 percent over 2015.

Donors recommended 230,000 grants and more than $900 million in the second half of the year, with more than $20 million in grants for relief efforts in response to major hurricanes, earthquake and wildfires. Among the most widely support charities by Schwab donors were Feeding America, the American Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, Salvation Army and Doctors Without Borders.

While the charitable deduction remained intact after tax reform was passed, the standard deduction was doubled from about $6,300 to $12,000 for individuals ($24,000 for couples). With more taxpayers likely to take the standard deduction and fewer people expected to itemize, some studies have suggested there’s less tax incentive to give, which could decrease charitable giving this year.

“A combination of factors created a one-of-a-kind giving environment last year,” Kim Laughton, president of Schwab Charitable said in a news release. “The changes to the tax code this year have made it even more important for donors and their financial advisors to plan giving over several years in order to fulfill their personal philanthropic mission and make the most of tax deductions at the same time,” she said.