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Contributions, grants up at Fidelity

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Sarah C. Libbey

Sarah C. Libbey

Fidelity Charitable posted record-high levels in the number of contributions and in the number of dollar value of grants in the first six months of 2011.

The Boston-based company, which manages the largest donor-advised fund program in the U.S. and is celebrating its 20th anniversary, also changed its name from Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.

New charitable contributions in the first half of the year totaled $512 million, up from $457 million in the first half of 2010, while over 170,000 outgoing grants totaled $604 million, up 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from the same period last year.

“Donors are starting their charitable planning earlier,” and more of them “are recognizing the benefits of donor-advised funds,” Sarah Libbey, president of Fidelity Charitable, says in a statement.

Appreciated securities accounted for 59 percent of total contributions in the first six months of the year, up from 51 percent in the same period in 2010.

Contributions in the form of complex assets –illiquid assets such as privately-held C- and S-Corp stock, limited partnership interests and certain publicly-traded stock – more than tripled in the first half, growing to 8 percent of contributed dollars.

In the fiscal year ended June 30, incoming contributions at Fidelity Charitable grew 31 percent from fiscal 2010, resulting in $1.7 million in new charitable funds and representing Fidelity’s best fiscal year ever.

Donors recommended grants totaling over $1.2 billion to nonprofits throughout the U.S., up 15 percent from fiscal 2010.

Fidelity Charitable ended the fiscal year with $5.6 billion in assets, up 29 percent from fiscal 2010.

Since it was formed 20 years ago, Fidelity Charitable says, it has made over $11 billion n donor-recommended grants to over 140,000 charitable organizations across the U.S.

Since 2005, the total number of donor-advised funds in the U.S. has grown by over 51 percent and those funds now outnumber private foundations by more than two to one, Fidelity Charitable says, citing a 2010 report by the National Philanthropic Trust.

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