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Schwab Charitable Donors Give Record $3.3 Billion to Support Those in Need During Unprecedented Fiscal Year 2020

Granting surged nearly 50% in the most active first half of a calendar year in Schwab Charitable's history

July 15, 2020, SAN FRANCISCO—Schwab Charitable™, one of the largest national providers of donor-advised funds and other philanthropic services, reported a record fiscal year 2020, in which Schwab Charitable donors recommended nearly 700,000 grants, representing $3.3 billion granted to more than 100,000 charities. This is a 33% increase in dollars granted and 24% increase in number of grants compared to the 2019 fiscal year.

"Our donors' unwavering support for charities year after year is remarkable, and this year I'm especially proud that they have met these extraordinary times with even more generosity to support those who need it most," says Kim Laughton, President of Schwab Charitable. "The last six months have been incredibly challenging, and I am truly inspired to see donors utilize their donor-advised funds to help communities and nonprofits impacted by health, economic, and social crises."

Support for communities in need surges to six-month high

In response to the immense needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, a resulting economic downturn, and a period of deep social unrest, Schwab Charitable donors have been granting at a record pace to support impacted communities.

From January through June 2020, donors recommended over $1.7 billion in 330,000 grants, marking a 46% increase in dollars granted and a 44% increase in the number of grants compared to the same period in 2019. This represents the fastest pace of growth in the second half of a fiscal year since Schwab Charitable's first full fiscal year.

The increase in granting reflects Schwab Charitable's success in responding to donor requests for relevant and timely information about how to maximize their charitable impact. Resources provided to donors this year include the following:

  • Charities recommended by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy addressing all major areas impacted by COVID-19
  • Additional resources for helping local communities, including tools from Giving Compass and the National Center for Family Philanthropy to identify community foundation-sponsored COVID-19 funds for specific geographic locations
  • Articles from leaders in the philanthropic sector to identify causes and charities supporting COVID-19 relief and equal access to justice initiatives
  • Resources to help donors identify giving priorities and choose charities
  • A podcast series created by Schwab Charitable and Stanford Social Innovation Review on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of donors and the advisors who support them and helping nonprofits to create the impact they envision

"The need within our country and around the world is greater than ever, and with the disruption to the economy, philanthropy is more important than ever," said Dave D., who manages his charitable giving through Schwab Charitable. "Basic needs have dramatically increased, so to help provide some relief we are giving more to our local food bank, church food pantry, and homeless shelters."

From mid-February through the end of June, Schwab Charitable donors earmarked more than $145 million specifically for charities providing relief for communities impacted by COVID-19, and the charities recommended by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy for COVID-19 relief saw a 250% increase in dollars granted year over year. Throughout the fiscal year, most donors (76%) dedicated a portion of their giving to organizations within their own state.

Tax benefits highlight importance of strategic, advice-driven charitable giving

As today is the extended deadline for filing 2019 taxes, it is a great time to think about tax planning strategies that can help maximize charitable impact in 2020 and beyond. One powerful strategy is to contribute appreciated non-cash assets that have been held for more than one year directly to a charity, including a donor-advised fund. Donors generally do not pay the capital gains tax they would have incurred if they sold the appreciated assets themselves, potentially increasing the amount available for charity by up to 20%.

Despite recent market volatility, the S&P 500 is up over 50% over the past five years, so many donors may still be in a good position to contribute long-held appreciated assets. In fiscal year 2020, 64% of contributions to Schwab Charitable were non-cash assets, including publicly traded securities, restricted stock, and privately held business interests.

Donors who wish to give in 2020 may also receive a charitable deduction for the current calendar year and can take advantage of current income tax deduction limits of up to 60% of AGI for cash, 30% of AGI for long-held non-cash assets, and 50% of AGI for blended contributions of cash and non-cash assets. Donors who plan to give more in 2020 than in previous years and who will contribute at higher AGI levels may carry over any excess deduction amount for up to five tax years. In addition, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March includes a provision that encourages cash gifts directly to operating charities.

Financial advisors are well positioned to help clients navigate the new giving landscape and utilize tax-smart giving strategies to maximize their charitable impact. At Schwab Charitable, three-quarters (75%) of donor-advised fund account assets are associated with a professional investment advisor.

"As donors plan for their financial futures, we are pleased to see them thinking strategically about how charitable giving fits into their overall financial planning," continues Laughton. "Our team and our solution allow advisors and their clients to fulfill their charitable goals, respond to immediate needs, and plan to help their communities rebuild and strengthen over the long term."

Donors sustain generosity across the philanthropic sector

Donor-advised funds are flexible giving solutions that can be activated by donors of all generations to give to a wide range of causes. In addition to supporting crisis relief efforts in fiscal year 2020, donors continued to express broad-based generosity in support of their favorite nonprofits.

In fiscal year 2020, each generation – Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and Greatest Generation – saw an uptick in giving from the 2019 fiscal year, granting on average between 7 and 13 times throughout the year.

Donors fulfill a variety of philanthropic goals with their giving, and in fiscal year 2020, donors supported more than 100,000 charities, a 14% increase over the prior fiscal year.

The most widely supported charities in fiscal year 2020 included Feeding America, Planned Parenthood, Doctors Without Borders, Salvation Army, and Campus Crusade for Christ. The most widely supported sectors were religion, human services, education, and health.

After the record 2020 fiscal year, donors have cumulatively granted nearly $16 billion to more than 170,000 charities since Schwab Charitable's inception.

"It is very encouraging to witness heightened levels of generosity from donors of all ages in supporting nonprofits across the philanthropic landscape this year," added Laughton. "As we work through the stages of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery for the long term challenges we face, donor-advised fund donors can provide ongoing support to communities in the months and years to come."

About Schwab Charitable

Schwab Charitable is a donor-advised fund established as a service for individual investors to help increase their charitable giving. Schwab Charitable serves a wide range of investors and has been a pioneer in enabling registered investment advisors to manage the investments of donor-advised fund accounts. Schwab Charitable also offers a private foundation conversion service for private foundations considering a donor-advised fund as a complementary or alternative charitable vehicle. For more information, visit schwabcharitable.org.

Fiscal year 2020 refers to July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

Schwab Charitable is the name used for the combined programs and services of Schwab Charitable Fund, an independent nonprofit organization, which has entered into service agreements with certain affiliates of The Charles Schwab Corporation. Schwab Charitable Fund is recognized as a tax-exempt public charity as described in Sections 501(c)(3), 509(a)(1), and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions made to Schwab Charitable Fund are considered an irrevocable gift and are not refundable. Please be aware that Schwab Charitable has exclusive legal control over the assets you have contributed.

A donor's ability to claim itemized deductions is subject to a variety of limitations depending on the donor's specific tax situation. Consult your tax advisor for more information.

Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is correct, Schwab Charitable cannot guarantee its accuracy. This information is not provided to the IRS.

©2020 Schwab Charitable Fund. All rights reserved. REF (0720-0REG)