Contributions to donor-advised philanthropic funds totaled $7.77 billion in 2010, up 25.5% from the previous year, according the National Philanthropic Trust's 2011 Donor-Advised Fund Report released Monday.
In all, total assets of donor-advised funds rose to $29.96 billion in 2010, up 12.5% from 2009.
The report is based on National Philanthropic Trust's study of Form 990 filings with the Internal Revenue Service from 478 charitable organizations that sponsor donor-advised funds — philanthropic-giving vehicles administered by a charitable sponsor, enabling donors to make irrevocable, tax-deductible contributions and recommend charitable grants from those funds, the report said.
Donor-advised funds accounted for 2.6% of the $291 billion in estimated charitable contributions in the U.S. in 2010, up from the 2.2% of a total $280.3 billion in charitable contributions in 2009, said a NPT spokesman.
The average size of donor-advised funds rose to $185,000, up 12.4% from 2009, an increase attributed to improved investment returns and new contributions received, among other factors.
However, the number of donor-advised funds totaled 161,873, a 0.05% decline in 2010 from 2009.
For 2012, “barring a new, major economic crisis, donor-advised funds are likely to continue to grow in all metrics: assets under management, contributions, number of funds and grant dollars awarded,” the report forecast. “Several of the largest national charities have already reported robust increases in contributions, grants and assets under management through June 2011. Based on these preliminary reports, and coupled with improved investment performance, we project that donor-advised funds could achieve historic highs in all areas in our next report.”
The report doesn't identify any of the funds.
The National Philanthropic Trust, which has $1 billion in assets under management from donor-advised funds, is an independent charitable organization whose focus includes consulting to foundations, financial institutions and donors on donor-advised funds.