Fidelity Gift Fund posts best first quarter

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund
Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund

The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund posted its best first quarter for grants and incoming contributions in its 20-year-history.

Incoming contributions grew 25 percent from the first quarter of 2010 to $269 million, while donors recommended $293 million in outgoing grants, up 8 percent.

While many donors to the Gift Fund made disaster-relief and related grants in response to the March 11 tsunami and earthquake in Japan, the “level of  overall activity indicates that more people are prioritizing charitable giving, making it part of their overall financial planning, and not just a year-end activity,” Sarah Libbey, president of the Gift Fund, says in a statement.

The disaster in Japan prompted donors to provide over 3,515 grants totaling $4.2 million as of the 22nd business day following the tragedy.

Donations of appreciated securities grew to 60 percent of total incoming contributions, up from 46 percent in 2010 and 27 percent in 2009, mainly as a result of the recovering stock market, the Gift Fund says, while contributions of complex assets such as privately-held C- and S-Corp stock, limited partnership interests and some publicly-traded stock nearly quadrupled, compared to the first quarter a year ago.

“We are seeing a significant increase in donors leveraging a broader spectrum of their assets, such as restricted stock and privately held securities, for charitable purposes,” Libbey says. “This reflects continued strength in the mergers and acquisitions market, and also is a sign of more strategic charitable planning on the part of donors and their advisors.”

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