Fidelity Charitable donors recommend a record $5.2 billion in grants in 2018, a 17 percent increase over 2017

Number of Giving Accounts at Fidelity Charitable has grown 150 percent in the last decade, with 15,000 new Giving Accounts established in 2018

Nearly 1.3 million grants benefited over 140,000 charitable organizations last year

BOSTON, MA, February 14, 2019 – Fidelity Charitable saw another all-time high in grantmaking in 2018 as its donors recommended a record $5.2 billion from their donor-advised funds (DAFs), according to a report released today by the charity. Last year’s unprecedented grantmaking activity—$700 million more than in 2017—underscores the value of DAFs, which continue to be the fastest-growing vehicle for giving in the United States. In a year of uncertainty related to tax reform and market volatility, Fidelity Charitable enabled donors to increase their charitable impact, with nearly 1.3 million grants that benefited over 140,000 charitable organizations in the United States and around the world. The 2019 Giving Report provides key insights into Fidelity Charitable donor activities.

“Last year we witnessed the enduring generosity of our donors who demonstrated their commitment to philanthropy and used their donor-advised funds to provide more support than ever for thousands of charities despite the uncertainty around tax reform and extreme market volatility during giving season,” said Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable. “One of the inherent strengths of donor-advised funds is that they enable sustained philanthropy regardless of the market environment.”

Donors’ grant-related activity continues to accelerate and fuels new granting records

Donors who contribute to DAFs irrevocably commit those funds to philanthropy. This makes their ability to support charities—year in and year out—less sensitive to market fluctuation and provides a source of ongoing support to thousands of charities nationwide and around the world.

Graphic showing yearly Fidelity Charitable donor-recommended grant totals increasing over the last 10 years.

The report highlights that donors are actively recommending grants to charity with the average Giving Account recommending more than 10 grants annually, nearly twice the average 10 years ago; three quarters of contribution dollars are distributed by way of grants within five years.

Little present boxes representing the number of grants recommended per Giving Account nearly doubling over the last 10 years.

Donor-advised funds continue to be the fastest-growing vehicle for giving in the United States, and the continued increase in new Giving Accounts at Fidelity Charitable reflects this upward trend, with the number of Giving Accounts having more than doubled in the past 10 years and the Fidelity Charitable community topping 200,000.

alt="Image showing the Fidelity Charitable community growing, including increases in both Giving Accounts and donors."

Making a difference in the world of philanthropy

  • Donor generosity makes ripples across the nonprofit sector: In 2018, Fidelity Charitable donors supported more than 140,000 charitable organizations in every state and across the world. These nonprofits represent a diverse set of charitable causes, ranging from local interests to international relief and development.

The 10 Most Popular Charities at Fidelity Charitable in 2018

  1. Doctors Without Borders
  2. American National Red Cross
  3. The Salvation Army
  4. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  5. Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  6. Habitat for Humanity
  7. United Way
  8. Southern Poverty Law Center
  9. American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
  10. Nature Conservancy
  • The growth in grants from DAFs, including Fidelity Charitable, has greatly benefited organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, allowing the organization to serve more people—in particular because of the high rate of grants for “where it’s needed most.”

Graphic showing 60% of grant recommendations are designated “where needed most.”

    “Sophisticated donors—such as the donors who use donor-advised funds—are interested in more efficient and impactful ways to donate. They are more likely to understand the value of unrestricted giving, and how it gives the charitable organization the ability to run towards opportunity,” said Jeremy Kraut-Ordover, vice president of individual giving at Habitat for Humanity.

    In response to the growing use of DAFs, Kraut-Ordover noted that Habitat for Humanity has stepped up its stewardship efforts, such as thank you notes, directed to DAF donors. It has also added messaging on its website, in its magazine and in other communications reminding donors that they can use a donor-advised fund to support Habitat.

  • The growth of impact investing shows donors embracing new strategies to maximize the impact of their charitable dollars. More popular with younger donors—Millennials and Gen Xers—these investments consider social and environmental impacts, while also seeking to maximize financial returns. The increasing popularity of these investments signals that impact investing is moving from a trend to a widely-accepted strategy among donor-investors at all levels.
    • Giving to impact investing nonprofits has nearly doubled since 2013, totaling $22 million last year. These charities raise funds to support their investments in socially minded organizations and projects.
    • The charitable dollars in Fidelity Charitable Giving Accounts allocated to impact investments increased by 16 percent last year to nearly $1 billion. Fidelity Charitable launched three new impact investment pools in 2018.

Additional highlights include:

  • Non-publicly traded assets, such as restricted stock, limited partnership interests and other assets, top $1 billion milestone in gifts to Fidelity Charitable in 2018.
  • Since inception, Fidelity Charitable has converted more than $6 billion in non-publicly traded assets into dollars for charity.
  • More than 60 percent of contributions to Fidelity Charitable in 2018 were made in the form of more strategic non-cash assets, including publicly traded securities (stocks, bonds and mutual funds) and non-publicly traded assets (private stock, restricted stock, limited partnership interests and bitcoin).
  • Investment growth of Giving Account assets has generated an additional $5 billion available for grants since inception.
  • Since inception, Fidelity Charitable has supported more than 278,000 charities with nearly $35 billion in donor-recommended grants.

Visit 2019 Fidelity Charitable Giving Report for the complete report.


About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 278,000 nonprofit organizations with nearly $35 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit https://www.fidelitycharitable.org.

Want to learn more?

Explore other news and resources, or reach out to us for a media inquiry.