The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund reported on Wednesday that its donors made more than 152,000 grants totaling $531 million during the first six months of 2010, the strongest first half for outgoing grants in the Gift Fund’s 19-year history.

With the stock market returning 14% over the past 12 months, incoming contributions were very strong, up 67% over the last year, said Sarah C. Libbey, president of the Gift Fund. “At first blush this may seem surprising,” said Libbey in a phone interview on Wednesday. “But there are a couple factors contributing to the growth: the ability for donors to use appreciated securities in their portfolio to take advantage of tax strategies and the trend of donors looking for alternatives to private foundations.”

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