Upgrade your browser to improve your experience. See recommended browsers
Six donors share how they use their Giving Accounts to organize their giving, engage family and support charities.
"I give a whole lot more money that impacts a whole lot more people and organizations, than I would if I had to sit down and write out a check."
Since establishing his donor-advised fund in 1993, Richard Unger cannot recall a time he has refused to give, whether to make life better for a few people or a thousand. Dental work for the elderly, education supplies for the poor, infrastructure for schools from Pennsylvania to Africa—Richard always feels prepared to make a difference.
Not only does he give five to 10 times more than he once did, but also he has created donor-advised funds for each of his four children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, establishing a legacy of family giving to last throughout the 21st century.
"We started out poor, but we’ve been fortunate to make a fair amount of money. What else is there to do with it but to give it away to worthwhile organizations and people?"
"If there is one common thread to our giving, it would be building community."
Joan Wall and her husband support not just local groups with their Giving Account, but global charitable causes as well, from the Cloud Forest School in Costa Rica to an effort to bring a one-of-a-kind art museum, as well as an economic and cultural boost, to the Grampians region of Australia. Their philosophy is to help communities do more to support themselves, no matter where in the world they call home.
"Over the years, we’ve been able to support a lot of causes that both my wife and I believed in."
Each fall, Chanchal Samanta and his wife decide together which nonprofits to support with their Giving Account, sometimes with suggestions from their son. For Chanchal, humanitarian organizations often make the list; for his wife, faith-based charities. Both also are drawn to smaller organizations, such as their local animal shelter, where they know the grants will make a big difference.
Randall Lert established his Giving Account using privately held stock and has used Fidelity Charitable’s investment options to increase his charitable support. Randall says that flexibility is central to his ongoing philanthropy: his family won’t have to worry about its ability to provide continued support to local food banks, battered women’s shelters and other social services in the future. Even if their finances change considerably in retirement, "we have a source of funds for charitable giving."
Richard Dietz and his wife use their Giving Account to support organizations that impact oceans thousands of miles away and park benches just down the street. They recommend grants to their church and alma maters and to local performing arts and community services such as walking trails, recreation facilities and literacy programs. They also support national conservancy groups and international relief efforts whenever disaster strikes.
"We’ve covered our bases financially. Let’s see how we can help others."
For most of his life, Kenneth Richard was interested in saving money, rather than giving it away. He saved for retirement and their children’s needs. When the Richards retired after years of moving around the United States, they prioritized charitable giving. Their Giving Account supports religious and cultural charities nationally and local organizations in their new community. "It’s an opportunity to contribute, because we are going to stay here."
Additional stories featuring Fidelity Charitable donors and how they use their donor-advised funds.Read the stories