Fidelity Charitable is a 501(c)(3) public charity that helps donors maximize their generosity through its donor-advised fund, called the Giving Account. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable is the nation’s top grantmaker, distributing $10.3 billion to charities in 2021.
The Giving Account Guide is our redesigned program guidelines and provides donors an overview of the Giving Account to help them get started making more of a difference.
Review important policies, procedures and benefits associated with establishing and maintaining a Giving Account at Fidelity Charitable.
Individuals may open a Giving Account at Fidelity Charitable online. Trusts, estates, and for-profit business entities may open a Giving Account by completing an Organizational Giving Account application.
Existing donors who would like to open an additional Giving Account must complete a donor application, rather than opening the second account online.
During Giving Account setup, donors provide basic information and choose a Giving Account name. The name may be related to a family (e.g., Smith Family Charitable Fund) or a charitable giving purpose (e.g., Clean Water Fund). Fidelity Charitable reserves the rights to modify or decline proposed Giving Account names.
The individual who establishes the Giving Account is the Primary Account Holder and may add up to three additional Account Holders. Account Holders have equal advisory privileges on the Giving Account.
Fidelity Charitable accepts a wide range of financial assets to fund a Giving Account, including:
All contributions are subject to review and approval by Fidelity Charitable. Learn more about the types of assets Fidelity Charitable can accept.
*Please note that there is no minimum for subsequent contributions on any Giving Account.
Fidelity Charitable sends a confirmation of each contribution to the contributing party as required by law. Contribution confirmations serve as a donor’s tax receipt and should be reviewed carefully. It is the donor’s responsibility to report any errors to Fidelity Charitable. While Fidelity Charitable may provide a fair market value computation as a courtesy, donors are responsible for the value they claim as a deduction on their taxes. Please consult a tax advisor before claiming any deduction.
Note: As a courtesy, Fidelity Charitable also provides a summary of information needed for filing an IRS Form 8283 to donors who contributed publicly traded securities valued at $500 or more.
Processing times vary for different asset types. From late November until the last business day of each calendar year, special guidelines may apply in order to ensure delivery and acceptance of securities before the December 31 tax deadline for claiming a charitable tax deduction. Account Holders may need to initiate contributions early. Read the Fidelity Charitable year-end contribution guidelines for additional guidance.
Donors are generally eligible to take an itemized deduction once the charitable contribution to Fidelity Charitable is made. The value of the deduction will likely depend on the type of asset contributed. While this guide only addresses federal taxes, please consult a tax advisor as there may be additional rules and regulations at the state level or depending on your specific circumstances.
Cash equivalents (by check, EFT, or wire)
The amount of the contribution
Publicly traded securities
Publicly traded securities held for more than a year: Fair market value of the securities on the date the contribution is made
Mutual fund shares held for more than a year: Fair market value of the shares contributed, determined as of the closing price on the date the contribution is made
Securities or mutual fund shares held for one year or less: Limited to the lesser of the donor’s cost basis or the fair market value
Non-publicly traded securities
Non-publicly traded securities held for more than one year: Fair market value of the securities on the date the contribution is made
The IRS may require donors to obtain a qualified independent appraisal. Please consult your tax advisor, as the appraisal value may be higher or lower than the proceeds from the sale of the asset.
Any income accrued to a Giving Account related to a contribution is Fidelity Charitable income, not of the Account Holder’s taxable estate. Therefore, the Account Holder is not subject to tax on that income and cannot take further charitable contribution deductions on that income. Income or loss to Fidelity Charitable will be reflected in the value of each Giving Account.
When Fidelity Charitable disburses grants to charities, Fidelity Charitable is granting its own assets. Account Holders who make grant recommendations are not eligible for additional charitable deductions for these grants. If an Account Holder receives a tax receipt from the grant recipient in connection with a grant from Fidelity Charitable, it may not be used for tax purposes.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, charitable contribution deductions are subject to certain percentage limitations. This regulates the deductions taken to a stated percentage of adjusted gross income (AGI) in the year the contribution is made. Contributions in excess of this limit may be carried forward up to five subsequent years.
Deductions for contributions of long-term capital gain property (such as appreciated securities held for more than one year) may be taken up to 30% of AGI. Deductions for cash contributions may be taken up to 60% of AGI. Please consult your tax advisor to determine your tax deductibility limit.
Fidelity Charitable provides different investment approaches to match Account Holders’ charitable giving objectives:
Fidelity Charitable offers a wide range of investment options with unique objectives and strategies to help our donors meet their philanthropic goals. The investment pools aggregate, or pool, donations from many Giving Account balances and invest those assets in an underlying investment(s). The investment pools typically invest in mutual funds, which are professionally managed and diversified across many different holdings.
The Charitable Investment Advisor Program allows Account Holders with more than $250,000 in a Giving Account to be eligible to nominate their investment advisor to manage assets contributed to Fidelity Charitable.
The Charitable DonorFlex ProgramSM is for Account Holders with more than $5 million in a Giving Account who desire flexibility beyond what investment pools offer. Account Holders have the privilege of recommending specific investments for their Giving Account.
Fidelity Charitable seeks to sell contributed property promptly and allocate the net proceeds of the sale to the Giving Account once they are received.
Net proceeds are defined as gross proceeds less any costs incurred by Fidelity Charitable, including brokerage commissions, federal or state unrelated business income tax, legal due diligence, accounting, tax calculation fees, or valuation costs.
Once net proceeds are allocated to the Giving Account, Fidelity Charitable will purchase the appropriate number of investment pool units. Investment pool units are issued at the next-determined value on the business day that Fidelity Charitable receives the proceeds from the sale of contributed property. The value of a unit at the end of each business day is determined by dividing the value of each Fidelity Charitable pool by the number of units outstanding from that pool. The unit value for each pool for the prior business day is available by logging in to the Giving Account.
Important: The value of the donor’s charitable contribution deduction is determined under separate rules and, therefore, the net proceeds and the corresponding value of units allocated to the Giving Account may differ from the charitable deduction allowed or taken.
Income earned by Fidelity Charitable includes interest, dividends, and other investment income, including capital gains distributions from investments in mutual funds, in excess of the operating expenses of Fidelity Charitable. Each pool will be allocated its pro rata share of daily income realized by Fidelity Charitable, which will be reflected in the unit value of that pool. The value of each Giving Account will be the number of units of each attributable pool multiplied by the unit’s current value. The value of a unit for each pool will include realized and unrealized capital gains or losses on the pool’s portfolio investments, as well as undistributed income attributable to that pool.
Account Holders and certain authorized advisors or third-party individuals may recommend changes to pool allocations five times per calendar month. Recommendations made after market close, if approved, will generally be performed the following business day.
Because the Giving Account is a donor-advised fund, Fidelity Charitable accepts grant recommendations from Account Holders to support their philanthropic goals. Account Holders may recommend grants online, on the Fidelity Charitable app, or by phone.
Grant recommendations are subject to review to ensure that funds meet the Fidelity Charitable grant guidelines. If the grant recommendation is not approved, Fidelity Charitable will notify authorized individuals or contacts on a Giving Account.
Eligible grant recipients include qualified charitable organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as well as select private operating foundations or units of government as identified by the Code.
Supporting causes outside the United States: Fidelity Charitable generally does not make grants to charitable organizations not formed under the laws of the United States and its territories. Donors may, however, recommend grants to eligible U.S. intermediary public charities that carry on or provide funding for charitable activities outside the United States. Such grants, if approved by Fidelity Charitable, are subject to the policies of the recipient U.S. public charity, including any additional fees and grant minimums that may apply.
An Account Holder may recommend the investment pool(s) from which a grant should be disbursed (in whole dollars). If the Account Holder does not recommend a pool(s) from which a grant should be disbursed, Fidelity Charitable will disburse the grant from the Money Market Pool first and then proportionately from all remaining pools with a balance.
An Account Holder may recommend that a grant be used by the charitable organization for a “special purpose,” such as a building fund, research project, or in honor of a person.
When recommending a grant, an Account Holder may request:
Fidelity Charitable may in its judgment choose to limit anonymity. However, Fidelity Charitable will not release the Account Holder’s name and contact information to any recipient charity without the Account Holder’s explicit consent.
Once a grant is approved, Fidelity Charitable will make the grant typically within 10 business days. However, additional due diligence may be required if the grant recommendation is to a charity not previously reviewed and verified by Fidelity Charitable. Pool unit values may fluctuate between the time of the recommendation and the grant’s actual distribution.
Fidelity Charitable grants are accompanied by a letter, or detailed spreadsheet, recognizing the Giving Account name, unless anonymity is requested. After each grant is processed, the Primary Account Holder will receive a confirmation from Fidelity Charitable. Account Holders may alternatively request that their name and address be included along with the Giving Account name, in which case they may also receive direct acknowledgments from recipient charities, if they choose to send them.
However, Account Holders are not eligible for additional charitable deductions for these grants, because the grant is made by Fidelity Charitable, and the Account Holder’s charitable deduction opportunity was at the time of the contribution to Fidelity Charitable.
Donor privacy: If an Account Holder requests anonymity, the Giving Account name will be omitted from the confirmation letter, and they can choose to not receive acknowledgments from recipient charities.
Fidelity Charitable allows unlimited grants from a Giving Account. Fidelity Charitable considers grant recommendations of $50 or more, or the balance of the Giving Account, whichever is less.
Active grantmaking is required for every Giving Account. If no grants are cleared from a Giving Account after one year, Fidelity Charitable will make every effort to contact the Account Holder to encourage grant recommendations. If no grants are cleared from a Giving Account after two years, Fidelity Charitable will grant 5% of the Giving Account balance to IRS-qualified public charities approved by the Trustees. For Giving Accounts with a grant history, Fidelity Charitable will make every effort to grant to charities the donor has previously supported.
The Gift4Giving® Program gives Account Holders the opportunity to dedicate a portion of their Giving Account so that individuals designated by them may recommend grants to the eligible charitable organization of their choice. An Account Holder may designate a minimum of $50, and up to the maximum of $10,000 to a Gift4Giving eGift. Learn more about Gift4Giving.
Fidelity Charitable offers three distinct successor options to allow Account Holders to continue their charitable legacies beyond their lifetime. Account Holders can elect one successor option, or a combination of the three.
Individual successors can choose to either 1) create a new Giving Account and hold all privileges associated as an Account Holder; or 2) recommend grants equal to the allocated balance within 90 days of written notification from Fidelity Charitable.
Carry on your charitable legacy by encouraging a tradition of giving by including a spouse, child, descendants, or other representatives.
Individual successors may not access or receive a deceased Account Holder’s personal information or Giving Account transaction history.
At the time of the death of the last remaining Account Holder, eligible grant recipients will receive the Giving Account balance. If the named organization is not an eligible grant recipient, the Giving Account balance will be reallocated among the successors.
Support the same charities you do now.
Successor charities are subject to the Fidelity Charitable grant review and due diligence process, and must be reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees.
The program allows donors to recommend recurring grants to up to six qualified charities after the death of the last remaining Account Holder.
The minimum annual grant distribution is 5% of the Giving Account balance, or the applicable IRS minimum percentage.
If the Giving Account balance falls below $5,000, Fidelity Charitable may grant the remaining balance to the recommended charitable organizations.
Create an enduring giving plan and support your favorite charities over time.
A Giving Account must have a balance of at least $100,000 after all other recommended successor options are fulfilled to participate.
Grant recommendations are subject to the Fidelity Charitable grant review and due diligence process, and must be reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees.
0.60% or $100, whichever is greater
0.60% or $500, whichever is greater
$10,000 + 0.60% of balance
Administrative fees are tiered according to the Giving Account balance. Learn more about the tiered fee schedule.
Commissions and other fees incurred by Fidelity Charitable for contributed property will reduce the net proceeds credited to the Giving Account. With respect to contributions of publicly traded securities, commissions are charged according to the following schedule:
For each share of large block orders or thinly traded securities
Fidelity Charitable provides a variety of investment pools to choose from, and each is subject to varying operating and management expenses of the mutual funds that comprise each pool. View the estimated total annualized mutual fund expenses for each investment pool.