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Fidelity charity fund awards $2.1b

Fidelity Investments said clients of its charitable gift fund requested distributions of $2.1 billion last year, a record level for the fund and a 29 percent increase from 2012.

The donor-advised fund, which operates as an independent public charity, made grants to more than 80,000 charities in 50 states, Fidelity said. The top sectors receiving funds were human services, religion, and education.

Donors contributed $3.6 billion to Fidelity Charitable in 2013, roughly level with the prior year. A larger portion of those gifts came in the form of appreciated stocks and mutual funds, Fidelity said.

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“Gains in the stock market and new tax rules introduced last year prompted donors and their advisors to closely consider how to best fund philanthropy,” said Sarah Libbey, president of Fidelity Charitable, in a statement.

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Customers can donate money to charitable accounts and take a tax write-off without having to make grants right away. Fidelity, as well as other companies and nonprofits, will manage the money and make grants upon request.

Fidelity said the average grant size rose 6 percent last year to more than $4,000. The figure was boosted in part by a 47 percent increase in the number of large grants exceeding $1 million.

Beth Healy

Beth Healy can be reached at Beth.Healy@globe.com