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A Very Good Year for Giving

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that total giving reached a record high of $104B in 2015.

The special report on the Philanthropy 400 also looks at which nonprofit pushed United Way Worldwide from the top slot it has held for all but one year since the list’s inception in 1991, and examines what drove big gains at some of the year’s notable organizations.

United Way Worldwide was knocked off the number one position by Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, a spin-off from the privately held, multinational financial-services company Fidelity Investments. The Chronicle reports that this is one of the most striking findings. “A sleepy, seldom-used giving vehicle until Fidelity opened in 1991, the donor-advised fund has entered the 21st century with the potential to become as important to philanthropy as the private foundation. Already, donor-advised funds account for much of the growth in total charitable giving. Contributions to funds at the largest sponsors grew 186% from 2008 to 2013, a new Chronicle analysis finds.” The Chronicle says that soon, donor-advised funds could account for 10% of all individual giving, based on figures from Giving USA and the National Philanthropic Trust (No. 17).

Stanford University made an outstanding gain of 75% over last year and brought in $1.6B. It tops the higher education list for the 10th time in 11 years. Last year it secured four gifts of at least $100M.

Other educational nonprofits debuted on the Philanthropy 400 this year: the Challenger School Foundation (No. 204), which supports a private-school chain; (No. 352), a crowdfunding site for classroom projects; the Wikimedia Foundation (No. 363) that backs projects offering free information online; and Year Up (No. 392), an antipoverty group that provides career training and support to young adults.

For more information and the full list, please read The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “Philanthropy 400: A New No. 1, and a Record Year in Giving.”

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