A note from our president:
2021 was not short of challenges, yet as we reflect on another year gone by, I want to remind you that you were a part of the good that happened. As Vanguard Charitable enters our 25th year, you’ve inspired me with your steadfast, ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and all its consequences while continuing to care for your favorite organizations. In 2021, Vanguard Charitable donors surpassed $1.7 billion in annual granting—a great new milestone.
Without a doubt, you’ve stepped up during this crisis to support the nonprofits and charities bolstering not only COVID-19 relief but other services for communities across the country and around the world. Our donors are often on the lookout for new charities to support. Many of you use our Discover Charities resource to respond to current events or develop your long-term philanthropic plan. There you’ll find the expertise of our network of trusted partners, as well as insights around topics that our donors frequently ask about.
As the highest value donor-advised fund (DAF), we are always looking for ways to lower the cost of charitable giving. In September, we reduced our administrative fees for all accounts with assets totaling $1 million or more. We project this fee reduction will create $1 million for charitable giving each year. $1 million!
This year, DAFs again proved to be a nimble giving tool. 50% of grants out the door in 2021 were unrestricted, showing that the dollar number is astounding, but the real impact may be felt from how those funds were given. Because half of all donations were unrestricted, charities could satisfy their greatest needs first.
The new year holds the promise of renewal for many, and Vanguard Charitable is no different. We are making plans to reopen our offices and bring our teams together under one roof. Office life may look a little different when we go back, but I’m looking forward to gathering in one place to support donors and drive our mission. Our focus for the future is on you, our donor, and the nonprofits you support.
Thank you again for your incredible generosity this year. It is a privilege to lead an organization that works alongside donors who change the world.
A note from our chairman:
2021 is certainly a year none of us will ever forget—for so many different reasons. There were, of course, severe challenges that adversely affected our local communities, country, and the world. But, amid the darkness and difficulties, there were also rays of light that inspired us, and that is undoubtedly true at Vanguard Charitable. I’d like to comment briefly on two such things.
First, “inspirational” is a word that I’ve used in these letters in the past to describe the generosity displayed by our donors, and never has that adjective been more appropriate than during the COVID-19 pandemic. From the very outset of the pandemic, you have been stalwarts of support for deserving charities so dramatically impacted by this global crisis. You have reacted quickly, frequently, and meaningfully to the immediate and unexpected needs our communities have faced. You have made a huge difference. Importantly, too, you have continued your support to the organizations that have been recipients of your generosity in more normal times. It’s a wonderful tribute to you that pandemic support didn’t come at the expense of your strategic philanthropy.
The second ray of light that has been so valuable to our donors and the charities you support is our Vanguard Charitable team. Much as you have ‘been there’ for those organizations, our team has been there for you. As a result of our leaders’ disciplined contingency planning focused on both our business operations and their colleagues’ safety, our team went virtual almost overnight 22 months ago, and they have maintained service levels that are truly extraordinary in the face of a new way of working. Our team of 100+ mission-committed people have done simply incredible work to maintain Vanguard Charitable’s ability to help you make a difference in the world. Your board has never been more grateful to, or proud of, our people.
Lastly, I want to offer a note of thanks to our past president, Jane Greenfield, for her extraordinary leadership for the past six years. One of her most lasting legacies is the team she built and how she helped prepare our new president, Rebecca Moffett, to lead us into the future. Our organization is in great hands.
John J. Brennan
Giving beyond a crisis:
Our donors have always been thoughtful, proactive, and engaged philanthropists and their giving in 2021 proved no different. On the heels of a particularly difficult year for nonprofits, donor support did not slow. It continues as we head into 2022, providing much-needed support to a diverse group of organizations. While some sources cited donor fatigue, at Vanguard Charitable, we instead saw increased donor energy, reflected in record granting.
As we look toward the future, Vanguard Charitable hopes to continue to inspire donor support and collaboration, dive deeper into timely topics, including recent updates in giving technology, and offer strategic philanthropists the highest-value donor-advised fund. It's this upfront commitment to charity—and, specifically, to long-term, sustainable support—that sets our DAF and our donors apart.
Here’s a glimpse into some of the things we accomplished with our donors in 2021*:
What our donors care about most:
Top 10 nonprofits supported by Vanguard Charitable donors, by number of grants issued:
1. Doctors Without Borders USA, Inc.
|6. American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc.|
2. Planned Parenthood Federation Of America, Inc. – National headquarters
|7. International Rescue Committee, Inc.|
|3. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital||8. American National Red Cross - National Headquarters|
|4. Cru - Campus Crusade For Christ||9. Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc.|
|5. Samaritan's Purse||10. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.|
Top cause areas:
In 2021, Vanguard Charitable donors directed their granting to the following cause areas, in order of popularity by number of grants:
Environment & wildlife
Arts and culture
Unrestricted giving and learnings from the industry:
Unrestricted giving—donations or grants that can be used for any purpose by the receiving charity—offers charities the ability to direct funds to their areas of greatest need. Unrestricted gifts allow nonprofits to cover expenses that can be difficult to fundraise.
This year, we surveyed 440 of our nonprofit partners and yielded many insights for our donors. When we asked what request nonprofit organizations would make of our donors, nearly 6 in 10 had the same response: More unrestricted giving.1
Out of $1.78B granted by Vanguard Charitable donors in 2021, 50% was unrestricted. That’s up from 42% in 2020!
To learn more about unrestricted granting with Vanguard Charitable, check out our blog Survey Says....
NAVi for Hunger & Homelessness
Donor needs change, so we stayed in touch with ours to learn what else they might need from us. Our donors told us they needed help finding charities fighting hunger and homelessness, two interwoven problems that the ripple effects of COVID-19 have greatly exacerbated. In December, Vanguard Charitable launched the updated Nonprofit Aid Visualizer™, NAVi for Hunger & Homelessness. This interactive web-based tool helps donors connect with nonprofits in their local communities and those operating in geographic areas struggling with homelessness and hunger.
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
Dr. Renee Bellamy Booth
Leadership Solutions Inc., President
Dr. Renee Bellamy Booth
- Leadership Solutions Inc., President
- Thomas Skelton Harrison Foundation, trustee
- Franklin Institute, trustee
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
The Franklin Institute, president and CEO
- The Franklin Institute, president and CEO
- Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), executive committee
- The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, board member
- Satell Institute, vice chair
- Deutsches Museum, board member
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
Michael S. Miller
The Vanguard Group, retired Managing Director
Michael S. Miller
- The Vanguard Group, retired Managing Director
- UVA Health Foundation, Board Chair
- University of Virginia Law School Foundation, trustee
- Hamilton Beach, director
Meet our leadership
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:
Rebecca is the president of Vanguard Charitable, a national donor-advised fund provider and one of the nation's top grantmakers. As a long-time donor-advised fund leader and advocate, Rebecca focuses on furthering the benefits of giving for donors, nonprofit partners, and communities around the globe. She has earned her bachelor’s degree and MBA from Saint Joseph’s University.
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 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.
Chief Development Officer
Jodi brings over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and the donor advised fund industry, and serves as an advocate for both philanthropists and the nonprofit community. She has responsibilities including business and strategic product development. Jodi is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®).
Chief Communications Officer
In her role leading communications, analytics, and strategic planning, Elaine focuses on building awareness of the benefits of strategic philanthropy and improving donors' giving experiences. Elaine earned her bachelor's degree from Lehigh University and master’s in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) designation.
D. Deone Powell
General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer
D. Deone Powell
Deone serves as inaugural general counsel and chief legal officer, bringing his law expertise to further Vanguard Charitable’s mission and increase donor impact. Deone previously built and led the legal department at Philadelphia FIGHT, a nonprofit community health system focused on culturally competent care. He is a UNC-Chapel Hill and Temple Law alumnus.
Review our financial statements as audited and approved by an independent third party for the most recent fiscal year.
* All calendar year numbers reported as of December 31, 2021, unless otherwise stated.
1 In the survey of 440 nonprofits who have received at least one grant from Vanguard Charitable over the past five years, responding charities were given a list of possible giving recommendations for donors and asked to choose up to two that were most important to them or suggest their own.
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