October 22, 2015

Fidelity Reports Surge in Grant Making Despite Market Turmoil

Donor-advised fund account holders with Fidelity Charitable made grants at a record pace in the first nine months of this year, doling out $2 billion to more than 81,000 charities.

The payout was 26 percent higher than during the same period in 2014.

The increase comes "even amid the recent market turmoil," Fidelity Charitable President Amy Danforth said in a statement.

"This highlights one of the advantages of donor-advised funds: Many donors are able to sustain a consistent level of support during difficult market periods because they have already committed funds to a charitable purpose," she said.

The organization also said Thursday it had added five new pools to its investment options, including an impact-investment pool, based on donors’ requests. Other new investment options include three actively managed single-asset-class pools and a short-term fixed-income access pool. From 1991 to December 2014, Fidelity’s investment options have made an additional $3.6 billion available for grant making.

Fidelity, the nation’s largest commercially affiliated charitable fund, has the authority to make grants based on recommendations from donors who hold accounts there.

In July, the organization reported that grants from its 75,000 donor-advised funds rose 32 percent to $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2015. The average grant size was $4,700. In that same time frame, its assets grew 16 percent due to increased contributions and investments.

An August report of Fidelity account holders found that two in five prefer to give to meet an organization’s short-term needs while one in five prefer to make contributions with longer-term impact.

Send an email to Eden Stiffman.