Donor advised funds post growth

Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable, two big national donor advised fund programs, reported growth in contributions from donors, and in grants from funds to charities.

Donor advised funds let investors contribute cash or appreciated assets or both to a charitable account, and then use those accounts to support charities.

At Schwab Charitable, assets under management grew 55 percent to $4.8 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, compared to the previous year, while grants to charities grew 12 percent to $600 million.

Schwab Charitable also doubled its new accounts.

Since its inception, Schwab Charitable has received over $8 billion in contributions and facilitated over $3.6 billion in grants to charities on behalf of its donors.

At Fidelity Charitable, donors recommended over 214,000 grants totaling $919 million in the first six months of 2013, up 33 percent from the same period a year earlier, while contributions from donors’ charitable accounts grew 7 percent to $879 million.

New charitable accounts in the first six months totaled 1,640, up 43 percent from the first half of 2012.

Grants of $1 million or more to nonprofits grew 50 percent, helping to boost the average grant size to $4,285, up 10 percent from the first half of 2012.

Forty-three percent of contributions from donors to their accounts came in the form of securities, with the remainder in the form of cash.

Non-publicly traded assets, such as private stock, accounted for five percent of contributions.

Since it was established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable has worked with donors to support over 160,000 nonprofits with over $14 billion in grants.

Fidelity Charitable attributed to referrals from professional advisers over 70 percent of contributions made in the first half of the year, and over 60 percent of new charitable accounts established.

Schwab Charitable cited the 2013 RIA Benchmarking Study from Charles Schwab, released last week, that found 54 percent of all firms with assets under management of $25 million or more currently offer charitable planning services.

Of those firms, 85 percent of those firms indicated at least some of their clients are using those services, and 34 percent are considering considering offering charitable planning in the future.

Among firms with assets under management totaling $50 million to $100 million, 50 percent are considering offering charitable planning in the next year to 18 months.

— Todd Cohen

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