In the wake of Nepal's devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake on April 25, donor-advised funds have found themselves poised to direct millions of dollars to help the region rebuild.

Clients at Fidelity Charitable, an independent public charity with a donor-advised fund program, had pooled their efforts to recommend 1,822 grants, totaling $2 million in combined relief, as of Wednesday morning, the firm says. And at Schwab Charitable, account holders made a total 464 grants for a combined $527,977 to Nepal disaster relief by the end of the day on April 28, according to the firm.

Donor-advised funds like Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable allow donors to contribute for an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants to qualified nonprofit organizations; in this case, Fidelity said it was able to channel contributions from across its client base.
"For the Nepal earthquake, we identified several charities that have a presence in the country, which is important since it can be difficult to travel to and around Nepal," Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable, wrote in an emailed statement. "The charities were able to move quickly to respond to the needs of those impacted by the earthquake."

Fidelity responded to the disaster by identifying nine relief organizations that were already active in the region, the company said.

"Our donors began recommending grants on Saturday morning, and the momentum has been building since," Danforth said in the statement. "We expect the majority of grants will be made in the first two weeks but the relief efforts will continue for several years.”

In 2014, Fidelity Charitable reported more than 620,000 donor-recommended grants, totaling nearly $2.6 billion, a 24% increase from 2013, according to the firm. Schwab Charitable showed a similar increase but from a smaller base, reporting $928 million in donor grants to more than 48,000 charitable organizations, according to statements from the firm.

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