When the coronavirus prompted states to order residents to stay at home in March, unemployment surged around the country as huge parts of the economy slowed or stopped. Soon after, there were calls for philanthropists, charitably inclined people and even occasional donors to accelerate any giving they were planning to do.
They stepped up, it turns out, giving more and giving faster then they typically do.
According a report released on Friday from Fidelity Charitable, which has become the largest grant maker in the country by managing thousands of individual donor-advised funds, those donors have given $3.4 billion nationwide since the start of the year, up at least 28 percent from a year earlier.
“Despite the economic environment, all the uncertainty at a personal level, people looked outside of themselves and gave to charity,” said Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable.
Debra Mailman, who has spent the two years since she retired as an executive at Microsoft volunteering in disaster zones, initially slowed her giving, shocked by the sudden drop in value in the investments in her donor-advised fund.