A note from our president:
As Vanguard Charitable enters our 23rd year, we continue to be humbled by your capacity to give. The charities you support feel the same way—they tell us how grateful they are for your belief in their work and their mission. In fiscal year 2019, Vanguard Charitable donors surpassed $1 billion in annual granting—a great new milestone.
You recognize the power and potential of a donor-advised fund (DAF)—a tool that scales your giving, moving you beyond one-time gifts and year-end appeals into a broader, more efficient, and more impactful giving strategy. While we take care of the administrative side, you focus your energy on the best ways to support the many wonderful charities working to make the world a better place. And increasingly, we see how you’ve deliberately involved others in your giving, using a DAF to demonstrate the value of philanthropy to younger generations. We are so grateful for all that you do.
Meanwhile, we’re working on our end to deliver for you. We never stop looking to make the highest-value donor-advised fund even better. We accept complex assets—limited partnership interests, private equity, non-publicly traded stock, and more—so that you can expand the charitable giving playing field, giving the maximum while enjoying significant tax benefits. We’ve added ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investment options so that you can align your investing strategy with your values. And with international granting, recoverable grants, and proactive disaster relief due diligence, we equip you with an array of granting tools so that you can not only meet your goals, but dream of bigger and more ambitious ones.
We’ve done all this while adhering to the high-quality, low-cost principles that you have come to expect. I’m excited to see where you take us next. Thanks to you, not only are we closing in on having granted $10 billion since inception, but we’ve also generated an additional $3.4 billion for charity due to investment growth. We look forward to reaching new granting milestones in partnership with you!
A note from our chairman:
John J. Brennan
On behalf of your Board of Trustees, it’s my great pleasure to report on another year of success and impact at Vanguard Charitable. As is my custom, I will be brief and highlight just two topics from among many that typify the outstanding work the Vanguard Charitable team accomplished on your behalf.
First, our impact in the nonprofit sector. During the year, we crossed the $8.8 billion mark in charitable grants since we began operations. In the past fiscal year alone, Vanguard Charitable granted more than $1.1 billion to nearly 40,000 different organizations both large and small, in just about every sector of the nonprofit world. Helping our donors make this kind of difference is what drives us as an organization and why we relish partnering with you to maximize your philanthropic giving.
Second, our commitment to continually get better. Your board, working closely with the Vanguard Charitable team, is always evolving our program to be most effective for you. One of the primary ways we do that is by listening—to you directly, to our colleagues at Vanguard Charitable, and to the institutions that benefit from your generosity. Our goal is to make improvements in what we do and how we do it that will endure and make a difference in your strategic philanthropy.
A great example is our introduction of our ESG investment options. Frankly, investment fads come and go, and we’ve tried our best to ignore them. But, we believe—and more importantly, many of you believe—that ESG investing is an enduring theme and solid investment strategy. Our lineup of thoughtfully constructed, transparent, diversified, and low-cost ESG portfolios makes it easy and effective for donors to pursue this strategy. We’ve been very pleased with your reaction.
As we enter our 23rd year of operation, your board remains enthusiastically optimistic about Vanguard Charitable’s future and our ability to be a powerful philanthropic partner for you as you look to make significant and meaningful impact on your communities, nation, and world. We are, as always, grateful for your loyalty and support.
What makes us the highest-value donor-advised fund?
It begins with low costs, but doesn’t stop there.
Our commitment to low costs is not a passing phase. It’s been a cornerstone of Vanguard Charitable since our founding, and we are always on the lookout for ways to lower costs further for you. We take our mission to heart—and we can’t increase philanthropy and maximize its impact unless we’re minimizing fees. When you look at the whole package, our average weighted all-in fee—at just 0.31%—is far lower than almost any other comparable provider.
But high value doesn’t just come through low costs. Anyone can lower costs if they scrimp on service. Instead, we’ve done the opposite, working consistently to add the right philanthropic tools to your toolkit. This year alone, we’ve built out our investment offer, enhanced our contribution processes, and expanded our granting services—while also continuing to lower fees, all in an effort to ensure you are maximizing your giving impact.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the things we accomplished together this past year:
The number of unique organizations supported by Vanguard Charitable donors in fiscal year 2019.
The increase over the previous year in total grants issued. Vanguard Charitable donors made more than 125,000 grants last year. This was an all-time high.
The number of Vanguard Charitable accounts that expanded their giving footprint last year by granting to a charity they had not previously supported.
The increase over last year in our donors’ non-cash contributions. This means donors are increasingly taking advantage of the tax benefits that come with donating appreciated and complex assets.
Basis point reduction in our administrative fee for balances between $500,000-$999,999, lowering the fee for this tier to 0.30%.
How much less expensive our weighted investment fee is than the donor-advised fund industry average.
The number of options in our newly expanded, low-cost, highly diversified investment lineup.
The number of accounts that are invested in at least one of our seven new pools. After less than just one year, these accounts now invest over $1B in the new pools.
Our founding partner
We were founded by The Vanguard Group, Inc, in 1997 as an independent public charity. The idea for the creation of Vanguard Charitable came from Vanguard clients themselves. They wanted a simple, flexible, and tax-effective method for scaling their philanthropy. They envisioned a powerful giving tool founded on core Vanguard principles.
In consultation with the IRS, Vanguard founded Vanguard Charitable as a separate entity. In the process, they helped establish best practices for the creation of an independent donor-advised fund provider. The precedent Vanguard and Vanguard Charitable set continues to be a model within the industry.
Since then, we’ve stuck close to the founding principles that those Vanguard clients valued. We believe in low costs, excellent service, best-in-class investments, and long-term strategic thinking. And we’ve seen over the course of our 22 years how you build upon those principles to transform the world.
Just as Vanguard does within the mutual fund industry, we take seriously the responsibility to set and meet a high bar among donor-advised fund providers. We aim to continue to model the right way of doing philanthropy, focused on the greatest positive impact possible.
High quality investment options play a crucial role. Now you have more to choose from.
The investments a sponsoring organization offers within a donor-advised fund help you construct and build out your charitable strategy. As of the end of fiscal year 2019, Vanguard Charitable has generated more than $3.4 billion in additional investment returns for charity since inception. We’ve done so on the strength of our low-cost, high-performing investments. Never satisfied with good enough, we took a fresh look at our investment pools in the summer of 2018 to ensure we were meeting your needs.
In September 2018, our Investment Committee approved a proposal to expand our investment offer from 14 to 20 high-quality options. We also changed our investment categories to help you navigate the choices. Portfolio solutions offer pre-allocated pools that span a wide range of exposures and are automatically rebalanced for you on a daily basis. Portfolio builders consist of the individual building blocks you can use to construct your own customized portfolio. Finally, values-driven investments screen for environmental, social, and governance factors. In less than just one year, our new pools have received more than $1B in charitable assets, signaling their popularity among donors and the potential for further growth.
Granting services help you specify the impact you want to make.
Our $1 billion granting milestone is just one piece of the granting story. We’ve also made continuing improvements to the way we manage grants, reducing processing times while maintaining the accuracy and thoroughness of our comprehensive due diligence.
Last fiscal year, you continued to make deft use of the granting tools at your disposal. Vanguard Charitable donors sent over 21,000 recurring grants, providing favorite nonprofits with reliable, ongoing support. You also demonstrated your global outlook. We’ve seen a 30% increase in international granting in recent years, and you have now supported charities in 34 different countries.
Nearly 80% of grants were unrestricted (a slight uptick from the year before). These unrestricted grants allow the receiving organization to use the funds to support their top priorities. And a whopping 70% of grants were recommended outside of November and December, the nonprofit world’s busy season. Year-round support helps charities better manage cash flow, maintain services in slower months, and plan based on need, rather than on the calendar.
A long-term outlook gives you flexibility for today and tomorrow
A Vanguard Charitable donor-advised fund helps you see the big picture. Donors who gave without much forethought in the past describe how their Vanguard Charitable account has helped them become more purposeful and effective in their charitable giving.
The nature of donor-advised funds means that donors can plan for the long-term and respond to unforeseen events as well. As Vanguard Charitable donors, you’ve shown the ability to be thoughtful and strategic yet also nimble, springing to action when unexpected need arises. In fiscal year 2019, we saw the continuation of a recent trend. You recommended millions of dollars for disaster relief across the country and world. You’ve also marshalled this same readiness in response to other social causes that have captured the public’s attention. New research suggests you’ll do the same to insulate charities during an economic downturn.1
When disasters hit, we do our part by providing you with a pre-approved list of nonprofits and a streamlined process for rapidly issuing grants. For those who are interested in supporting long-term recovery efforts or preventative measures, we also offer the Sustainable Disaster-Relief Fund (SDRF). The SDRF is a mission-driven fund, not a donor-advised fund, which means you can support it through direct grants, required minimum distributions (RMDs), and succession plans.
The bottom line
Ongoing strategic investments in our organization highlight our focus on making your giving as quick and easy as possible, while giving you all the tools you need to bring your charitable vision to life. When we help take care of the little things, we’ve seen how big your accomplishments can be.
Meet our Board of Trustees
Tasked with governing our overall strategy and effectiveness, our Board of Trustees oversees policies and promotes integrity and accountability throughout the organization.
John J. Brennan
Vanguard, chairman emeritus and senior advisor
John J. Brennan
- Vanguard, chairman emeritus and senior advisor
- American Express, board member
- Rockefeller Capital Management, board member
- University of Notre Dame, chairman of the board
Vikram H. Dewan
Philadelphia Zoo, president and CEO
Vikram H. Dewan
- Philadelphia Zoo, president and CEO
- Wachovia Bank, Philadelphia and Delaware region, former president
- Mayor's Advisory Council, board member
Pamela Dippel Choney
Wellington Management Company, LLP, retired partner and senior vice president
Pamela Dippel Choney
- Wellington Management Company, LLP, retired partner and senior vice president
- Wellesley (MA) Scholarship Foundation, advisory board member
- Social Finance US, director
Michael F. Holland
Holland & Company, LLC investment firm, chairman
Michael F. Holland
- Holland & Company, LLC investment firm, chairman
- State Street Master Funds, co-chairman
- The China Fund, Inc., director
- The Taiwan Fund, Inc., director
- The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States, trustee emeritus
Thomas E. Lanctot
William Blair & Company, retired head of Debt Capital Markets
Thomas E. Lanctot
- William Blair & Company, retired head of Debt Capital Markets
- Big Shoulders Fund, executive committee and board member
- Illinois Institute of Technology, trustee and executive committee member
- Chicago Botanic Garden, vice chairman, executive committee and board member
- Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, director
Fueled by the mission of increasing philanthropy in the U.S., our leadership team is dedicated to helping you make a charitable impact through strategic and thoughtful philanthropy. Learn more about our leadership team:
Meet our leadership
Jane G. Greenfield
Jane G. Greenfield
Jane Greenfield is president of Vanguard Charitable, a national donor-advised fund and one of the nation's top grantmakers. Prior to joining Vanguard Charitable in 2015, Jane held a number of positions as a principal at Vanguard in the Institutional, Retail, and Financial divisions.
Chief Information Officer
With decades of IT leadership, Carol oversees the technology strategy and portfolio for Vanguard Charitable. Prior to joining Vanguard Charitable, Carol served as a Vanguard principal in Global Investment Financial Systems and served as Vanguard’s Chief Technology Officer.
Chief Philanthropic Officer
Ann joined Vanguard Charitable in September 2013 following a multi-decade career in banking with Wells Fargo and its predecessor banks. Ann's experience is in leading various sales, service, and credit teams focused on the financial institutions, healthcare, and most recently higher education and nonprofit banking sectors.
Chief Strategic Planning Officer
Rebecca's a longtime Vanguard Charitable employee with 10 years of experience with donor-advised funds. She oversees marketing, strategic planning, and team management. Focused on building awareness of the benefits of strategic philanthropy, Rebecca is committed to improving donors' giving experiences.
Chief Financial Officer
Prior to Vanguard Charitable, Mark was the CFO of The Philadelphia Foundation. Mark is a CPA and holds an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business. Mark’s strong connection with the not-for-profit sector stems from his training as a classical violinist and his affinity for Philadelphia's arts organizations.
Director of Operations
With more than 14 years at Vanguard Charitable, Carla currently leads operations, with a strong focus on efficiency gains and client experience. Carla earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Villanova University. She is a Project Management Institute®-certified Project Management Professional (PMP)®
Maintenance fee may be applied
Accounts having a balance below $15,000 may be subject to an annual maintenance fee of $250.
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Our premier clients enjoy reduced pricing to further maximize their impact.
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