Updated August 29 at 7:42am

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philanthropy

Fidelity donations reach record high

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BOSTON – Donors gave $1.6 billion more to the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund in 2011 than a year earlier – a record high for the fund.

The fund said Tuesday that its donors gave $2.6 billion and recommended 380,000 grants – an 8 percent increase from 2010.

The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund is the largest donor-advised fund program and the third largest public charity, a news release said. It was established by the Boston-based mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments 20 years ago and has give $12 billion in outgoing grants since its inception.

“The degree and momentum of charitable activity we saw from donors in 2011 was extraordinary,” said Sarah Libbey, president of Fidelity Charitable. “Donors, many with guidance from their advisors, are increasingly turning to donor-advised funds to meet their charitable giving needs. Our results reflect our donors’ deep commitment to giving and finding strategic ways to do more.”

"With the stock market improving from recession lows, donors turned to their stock portfolios and other non-cash assets to fund their charitable giving," Fidelity said, noting that donations in the form of appreciated securities were 71 percent of total incoming contributions, up from 51 percent in 2010.

Fidelity also experienced a significant increase in donations of complex assets, such as privately held C- and S-corp stock, limited partnership interests and restricted stock, with contributions of these types of assets up 30 percent in 2011.

Other growth included the fund’s continued focus on providing services to advisors who manage their clients’ giving accounts.

“As more donors seek to make a greater impact with their charitable dollars, they are becoming smarter about the types of assets they’re giving, the giving vehicles they are using, and how their charitable contributions are invested,” Libbey said.

“Making it easy for donors and advisors to do all of these things and ultimately to make more of a difference for causes they care about, is our charitable mission, and will continue to be critical as more donors prioritize giving and seek to make every dollar count,” Libbey said.

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