Fidelity Gift Fund’s grants grow

Despite the economic downturn, grants from the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund during 2009 topped $1 billion for the third year.

Contributors to the donor-advised fund directed over 298,000 grants to more than 60,000 nonprofits throughout the U.S.

Their contributions also grew last year, reaching $1.1 billion, up from $1.05 billion in 2008.

About 43 percent of those contributions came from appreciated securities, and almost two-thirds of all contributions were made in the last three months of the year.

“While this increase in grants reflects the generosity of Gift Fund donors, it also demonstrates the value of donor-advised funds as helpful long-term giving vehicles that ensure charitable dollars are available in good times and bad,” Sarah C. Libbey, president of the fund, says in a statement.

Effective in 2009, the fund lowered its minimum grant amount to $50 from $100 and did away with its requirement that donors contribute at least $1,000 when adding to their accounts with the fund.

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