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BOSTON, January 29, 2013 – Outgoing grants and incoming contributions rose for the third and fourth consecutive year respectively for Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity with a donor-advised fund program, making 2012 a record year for both measures of donor activity. In 2012, donors recommended more than 428,000 grants totaling $1.6 billion and contributed $3.6 billion to Fidelity Charitable for their charitable accounts, both dollar figures represent a 24 percent increase compared to 2011. The number of new charitable accounts opened rose 32 percent compared to 2011.
“Throughout 2012, donors took advantage of the improved stock market and economic conditions to contribute more to their charitable accounts and in turn better support the causes they care about,” said Sarah Libbey, president of Fidelity Charitable. “We also saw many donors discover the benefits of using a donor-advised fund for the first time as the uncertain tax environment prompted more discussions about philanthropy between advisors and clients.”
In the fourth quarter, which is generally the strongest for grants and contributions, donors recommended more than 172,000 grants totaling $657 million. Donors also contributed $2.4 billion, 66 percent of the annual total, slightly above the 60 percent that the final quarter of the year typically attracts.
The more than 428,000 grants to nonprofits made in 2012 represents a 13 percent increase compared to 2011. Donors recommended grants to charities in all 50 states with religion, human services, and education ranking as the top three sectors. The average grant size rose to $3,773 in 2012, a 10% increase compared to 2011.
Fidelity Charitable also made several enhancements to improve donors' experience with grants, including releasing an app that enables donors to recommend grants using an iPhone®, enhancing the Web site's charity search tool to make grant recommendations easier, and extending business hours to better accommodate donors and their advisors across the U.S.
The majority of contributions continued to be influenced by donors' relationships with an advisor. Advisor referrals accounted for over 70% of contributions in 2012.
Complex assets, such as private business interests and other non-publicly traded assets, played an increasingly important role in donors' contributions. Contributions of complex assets more than tripled compared to 2011 and accounted for 11 percent of contributions. Appreciated securities once again accounted for the majority of contributions, as 54 percent of contributions came in this form. “Committed donors are becoming more resourceful in how they fund their giving and the charitable causes they support benefit,” said Libbey. “By leveraging their most appreciated assets and the tax advantages associated with donating them to charity, donors can often give more.”
Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 160,000 nonprofit organizations with over $14 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to further the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving simple and effective.
Fidelity Charitable is the brand name for the Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund, an independent public charity with a donor-advised fund program. Various Fidelity companies provide services to Fidelity Charitable. The Fidelity Charitable name and logo are service marks, and Fidelity is a registered service mark, of FMR LLC, used by Fidelity Charitable under license. Third party marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.
Information provided is general and educational in nature, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Fidelity Charitable does not provide legal or tax advice. Content provided relates to taxation at the federal level only, and availability of certain federal income tax deductions may depend on whether you itemize deductions. Rules and regulations regarding tax deductions for charitable giving vary at the state level, and laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy or completeness of the information provided. Charitable contributions of capital gain property held for more than one year are usually deductible at fair market value. Deductions for capital gain property held for one year or less are usually limited to cost basis. Consult an attorney or tax advisor regarding your specific legal or tax situation.