Fidelity Charitable sets goal of $25 billion in grants in 25 years, announces record giving in 2016

Grants up 14% in first half of year compared to the first six months of 2015

BOSTON, July 19, 2016 – Fidelity Charitable, an independent charity, today announced record-breaking granting for the first half of 2016 and launched a new initiative in celebration of its 25th anniversary designed to spur even greater granting activity. The charity made a record $1.6 billion in donor-recommended grants during the first half of 2016, a 14% increase from the year prior. The volume of grants also increased by 8% in the first half of 2016 compared to the same time period last year to more than 330,000 grants. In total, as of June 30, Fidelity Charitable had made $23.4 billion in donor-recommended grants since it was founded.

To commemorate the charity’s anniversary, Fidelity Charitable is announcing a challenge to its donors to hit, and surpass, a benchmark of a cumulative $25 billion in 25 years in donor-recommended grants by December 31st.

“As I consider the more than 800,000 donor-recommended grants that we are projected to make this year, I am humbled by the power of generous individuals like you to make the world a better place,” said Fidelity Charitable President Amy Danforth in a letter to donors announcing the initiative. “I ask you to consider the charitable organizations and causes you care most about and the opportunity to make a real difference for a nonprofit that needs it.”

Nearly two-thirds of donors have consistently said they give more because of their donor-advised fund.Investment growth, the ability to easily contribute appreciated assets, and simply having a dedicated account for charitable giving all influence donors to support the causes they care about at higher levels.

“We were founded with the goal of helping individual donors make a difference by making tools previously available only to the extremely wealthy accessible to more Americans,” says Danforth. “As I see both growth in adoption of donor-advised funds and an increase in granting and impact from donor-advised funds, I’m inspired to see that vision realized.”

25 Years of Giving

The first donor-advised fund was created in 1931. However, adoption of donor-advised funds was limited until Fidelity Charitable innovated and launched the first national donor-advised fund program. Today, more than 1,000 organizations offer donor-advised funds, and they collectively granted $12.5 billion in 2014 alone2.

The recently released Fidelity Charitable Giving Report provides a view of the dramatic rise in impact generated through the grant recommendations of Fidelity Charitable donors in the past 25 years. The report also highlighted giving trends in 2015, the differences between givers who use donor-advised funds and those who do not, and, in a special supplement, the giving priorities of cities across the United States.

Since its 1991 founding, the number of Fidelity Charitable’s donors has increased 40-fold, and both grant dollars recommended by donors and the number of grants have skyrocketed by well over 200 times. The scope of grantmaking has expanded from Massachusetts and New England to national and international causes. Additionally, in keeping with transformations in technology over the same time period, Fidelity Charitable donors have transitioned from making their grant recommendations on paper forms to nearly 90 percent now made online.

In the last 25 years, Fidelity Charitable has continued to innovate and enhance its program to accommodate the diverse needs of its donor base. In the past few years alone, the organization has made it simpler to recommend recurring grants to multiple charities, including from the Fidelity Charitable’s iOS app, so donors are able to easily and consistently support multiple charities at once. The charity has also expanded the assets it can accept to include Bitcoin and added a more diversified range of Fidelity and non-Fidelity investment options, including an impact investing fund, so donors’ contributions can grow based on their strategic giving goals.

“We are energized by the generosity of our donors and inspired by the way their grant recommendations have advanced education, supported cancer research, fed the hungry, and supported local communities among countless other causes. One of the only things to stay the same over the past 25 years is our commitment to making it as easy as possible for them to maximize their giving and support the organizations they care about,” Danforth says.

2016 Fiscal Year Results

Fidelity Charitable also announced its 2016 fiscal year results today. From July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, the organization distributed $3.3 billion in grants at the recommendation of its donors, a 15 percent increase from the previous year and a payout ratio of 26 percent.

Fidelity Charitable 25th Anniversary Highlights4 – changes in giving from the opening of Fidelity Charitable to today include:

  • Annual grant volumes have jumped from over 3,600 to over 750,000
  • Total grant dollars in a year rose from $14 million to $3.3 billion
  • The number of Giving Accounts increased by 4,000% to 82,539
  • Donors are using their donor-advised funds to support more charities at higher levels. The average grant size increased from $3,900 to $4,300, with the number of grants made per Giving Account increasing from 1.9 to 9.2
  • Technology has been transformational. Today, instead of submitting paper forms, nearly 90% of grants are now recommended online

1Fidelity Charitable annual donor surveys, conducted by Ipsos, an independent research firm, on behalf of Fidelity Charitable.
22015 Donor-Advised Fund Report, National Philanthropic Trust
3Fiscal year grants divided by a five-year rolling average of ending assets.
4Since 1993, the first year for which Fidelity Charitable has data through June 30th, 2016.

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 219,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $22 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, effective, and accessible. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit

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