Charities That Raised The Most Money Last Year
Last year was a good one for the world of charity in the United States. Top nonprofit organizations raised more than $108 billion from private sources.
That’s according to an annual report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a Washington, D.C.-based magazine that covers nonprofits and individuals and their charitable activities. Dubbed the Philanthropy 400, the report tracks how much money nonprofit organizations raised the previous year. The 400 organizations highlighted in the ranking this year account for more than 25% of all money given to U.S.-based charities in 2016.
In the top spot on this year’s list we find Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, a donor-advised fund which sprang from Fidelity Investments, a financial services company based in Boston. Last year the organization raised $4,076,302,537 in private support. This is the second consecutive year Fidelity has topped the Philanthropy 400. From 2012 and 2015, it held tight to second place.
Current numbers portend a great showing on next year’s list for Fidelity Charitable. The Chronicle’s Heather Joslyn and Peter Olsen-Phillips write that as of the ending of its fiscal year in June, the organization had reported nearly $6.9 billion in raised funds.
United Way Worldwide—a social services organization based in Alexandria, Virginia—holds the second position on the ranking, as it did last year. According to The Chronicle, United Way raised $3,539,672,346 in 2016 from private sources. The philanthropic powerhouse has a history of excellence on the Philanthropy 400 ranking—it has topped the roster 24 times since 1991.
Third place is held this year by a charitable entity set up by Goldman Sachs, an investment banking and financial services company. Its Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund is a donor-advised fund which raised $3,190,157,926 in private support in 2016. To date, this is the highest the organization has appeared on the Philanthropy 400. Its best prior showing was in 2015 when it ranked 12th. One trend The Chronicle notes is the popularity of donor-advised funds (DAFs), which have seen a 106% increase in contributions in the past five years. DAFs allows donors to have con- trol over the ways in which their money is used while also affording them anonymity. They also do not carry the high overhead and administrative costs of setting up a private foundation.
Joslyn and Olsen-Phillips report that the strength of the stock market is a factor in the increase in DAF money, but so are changes in the behavior of well-heeled givers: “More wealthy people are shuttering family foundations and pouring the assets into donor-advised funds. Or they are bypassing the expense and hassle of foundations altogether.”
The sums of money that dictate the Philanthropy 400 ranking are based, The Chronicle says, on filings with the Internal Revenue Service and, in the case of college fundraising, the Council for Aid to Education. Private foundations, nonprofits controlled by government agencies, organizations based abroad, and any overseas affiliates of domestic groups were not included in the report.