The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund reported a 4.8% increase in incoming contributions in last year, the Boston fund company announced Monday.

Its donors contributed more than $1.1 billion last year to their Fidelity Giving Accounts, up from $1.05 billion in 2008. In addition, for the third year in a row, donors of the Gift Fund, was established in 1991, recommended more than $1 billion in grants to charities.

In total, the Gift Fund’s donors supported more than 60,000 nonprofit organizations last year and recommended more than 298,000 grants—a 1.8% increase from 2008.

“We are optimistic as we begin the new year,” Sarah C. Libbey, the president of the Gift Fund, said in a prepared statement “Throughout 2009, we saw giving gain momentum and peak during December, one of our strongest giving seasons yet. With the economy showing signs of improvement and the markets recovering, we hope to help more donors in the coming year fulfill their giving plans.”

Contributions in the form of appreciated securities represented 43% of the fund’s total contributions last year with the majority of that total being contributed during the last three months of the year.

Historically, the Gift Fund receives 57% of its total contributions during the fourth quarter, with most of that arriving in December. Last year, 64% of contributions came during the fourth quarter and approximately 50% came in December.

In November, the Gift Fund became the first charity with a national donor-advised fund program to offer an electronic-funds-transfer capability, which allows donors to add to their accounts more easily. As a result, more than $15 million came to the Gift Fund through 1,095 electronic transactions. The Gift Fund is the nation’s largest donor-advised fund program and is the third largest public charity.

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