Fidelity Gift Fund dips

The faltering U.S. economy is taking a toll on the nation’s largest donor-advised fund, which received fewer contributions and awarded less in grants in 2008 than in 2007.

The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund awarded more than 293,000 grants totaling $1.08 billion last year, down from more than $1.17 billion in 2007.

Contributions to the fund took a bigger tumble, falling 43 percent from 2007 to $1.05 billion in 2008.

The number of grants awarded, however, increased 2 percent between 2007 and 2008, and the fund awarded its two-millionth grant in December of last year.

“As 2009 unfolds, we remain optimistic,” Sarah C. Libbey, president of the fund, says in a statement. “Americans historically have assisted those in need, even in the toughest of economic environments.”

Since its inception in 1991, more than 55,000 to the fund have awarded a total of more than $9 billion to more than 129,000 organizations.

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