Non-profit

Schwab Charitable Fund

Website:

www.schwabcharitable.org

Location:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tax ID:

31-1640316

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $3,147,045,622
Expenses: $1,595,320,832
Assets: $10,634,353,155

Type:

Commercial Donor-Advised Fund Provider

President:

Kimberly Laughton

Schwab Charitable is a provider of donor-advised funds (DAF), charitable funds through which donors can direct contributions. It is operated by Charles Schwab and Co. The organization is one of many donor-advised fund providers in the United States operated by large financial institutions. The organization is the sixth-largest charitable organization in the United States and among the largest grantmaking organizations in the country. Donor-advised fund providers including Schwab Charitable have drawn criticism from the political left as their recent growth has allowed for increased donor privacy.

Since Schwab Charitable’s creation, donors to Schwab Charitable have contributed to over 130,000 charities with grants totaling more than $10 billion. [1]

Background

Schwab Charitable is a provider of donor-advised funds, which are charitable accounts that allow donors to establish directed giving through a large pass-through entity that is also classified as a charitable organization. Donor-advised funds are popular among many individual donors for their ease of use and their ability to give to a large number and variety of charities while only needing to make one large contribution to the donor-advised fund for tax purposes. Many financial institutions and brokerages, such as Schwab, Fidelity Investments, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs have established charitable arms to operate donor-advised funds, which are all organized as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. In addition to Schwab Charitable, such organizations include the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program, and Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund. [2]

The organization is not to be confused with the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, a private foundation that was formed by the founder of Charles Schwab and Co, or the Charles Schwab Corporate Foundation, the corporate giving arm of the Charles Schwab Corporation that focuses on grants surrounding financial literacy and poverty programs. [3]

In 2018, Schwab Charitable was among the largest grant makers in the United States, collecting over $3.3 billion in contributions from account holders and giving over $1.8 billion to charity. Schwab Charitable charges an administrative fee to its donors not unlike a traditional brokerage account and pays a small fraction of its revenue to Charles Schwab & Co and other financial advising companies for annual asset management and administrative fees. The organization pays salaries of up to $600,000 to several executives and asset managers and reports a total of 27 employees with salaries over $100,000. [4]

According to the National Philanthropic Trust, which is also provider of such funds, donor-advised funds make up more than three percent of all charitable donations in the U.S. Donors to such funds receive a tax deduction, cannot revoke their donation, and see their dollars invested tax-free through the fund. Donors are then able to recommend grants from their money. NPT also notes that grants from Donor-advised funds totals over $23 billion annually and hold $121 billion in charitable assets, and that the total number of DAF accounts, meaning individuals giving through DAFs, increased by 55% from 2017 to 2019, reaching over 720,00 account holders [5]

Donor-advised funds are also popular ways to preserve donor privacy. Because public charities like Schwab Charitable are not required to disclose their donors, donors seeking privacy may establish donor-advised funds to anonymize contributions to controversial organizations while still claiming tax deduction benefits of donating. Due to this, there are also ideologically aligned donor-advised funds catering to left-leaning donors (like Amalgamated Charitable) and right leaning donors (like Donors Trust) on top of funds offered by traditional financial institutions such as Schwab. [6]

Criticism

Schwab Charitable and other donor-advised funds have drawn criticism from left-wing progressives for “hoarding” wealth and not distributing all the money received to charities as quickly as possible. The far-left Institute for Policy Studies issued a report titled “Warehousing Wealth: Donor-Advised Charity Funds Sequestering Billions in the Face of Growing Inequality.” The IPS report blasted funds including Schwab Charitable for not deploying funds as quickly as possible, regardless of a donor’s intent or desire to let a charitable “nest egg” grow. Critics point to the fact that a donor does not ever have to instruct the funds to a charity, leaving out the fact that many donors prefer to use their fund as a sort or legacy tool not unlike a family foundation. [7]

In response to pressure from left-leaning groups, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, the largest fund of its kind, announced that it would begin to choose charities for donors if no funds are disbursed within three years. Schwab Charitable responded that 80% of its contributions have been fully distributed to charity within 10 years. Another criticism of the organization arises from the organizations’ collection of asset management fees as an incentive to keep donor money in the fund. Schwab noted that the amount of financial resources Charles Schwab Corporation provides to its donor-advised fund is “far greater than any fees it receives for investment management.” [8]

Additional criticism of large corporate financial management donor-advised funds is the questionable nature of their fitness for ideological giving. There have been reports of donor-advised funds vetoing certain conservative organizations for being “too political.” These concerns have been further compounded by the fact that donor-advised funds ultimately have the ultimate say on whether funds will ultimately be designated according to the donor’s wishes, even in some cases fund providers may make funding decisions for a donor in the event they have not been allocating fund or if they have died without naming an heir to their fund. [9]

Funding for Left-Leaning Organizations

According to Schwab Charitable’s 2017 annual report, grants from the organization have tripled from $504 million in FY 2011 to $1.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2017. While the organization (on behalf of advised-fund holders) gives sizable amounts to right-leaning organizations, the growth in the organization’s grant making has coincided with increased giving to left-leaning groups. Gifts to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have increased rapidly enough to move into Schwab Charitable’s top five recipients list. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, respectively, were the second and third most popular donation recipients among Millennials. Additionally, Planned Parenthood has become the most-donated-to nonprofit among Generation X (born between 1965-1984) donors to Schwab Charitable. [10]

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council are “among the charities that saw big increases” in giving over the last several years, according to Schwab Charitable president Kim Laughton. Other left leaning organizations that are among the largest recipients of Schwab Charitable Funds include the NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Energy Foundation, the Anti-Defamation League and its state affiliates, and the New America Foundation. [11]

References

  1. Eisenberg, Richard. “There’s A Target On Charity’s Booming Donor-Advised Funds “. Forbes. August 2, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/08/02/theres-a-target-on-charitys-booming-donor-advised-funds/#5147ecc37a32 ^
  2. “What is a donor-advised fund?”. Schwab Charitable. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.schwabcharitable.org/public/charitable/donor_advised_funds ^
  3. “About Us”. The Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. Accessed April 22, 2020. http://www.schwabfoundation.org/Default.aspx ^
  4. “2017 IRS Form 990”. Schwab Charitable. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/311640316/04_2019_prefixes_31-36%2F311640316_201806_990_2019043016251298 ^
  5. National Philanthropic Trust, “What is a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF)?”, Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.nptrust.org/what-is-a-donor-advised-fund/ ^
  6. Ludwig, Hayden. “Charitable Infidelity: Providing Clear Intent.” Capital Research Center. September 20, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/charitable-infidelity-part-2/ ^
  7. Eisenberg, Richard. “There’s A Target On Charity’s Booming Donor-Advised Funds “. Forbes. August 2, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/08/02/theres-a-target-on-charitys-booming-donor-advised-funds/#5147ecc37a32 ^
  8. Eisenberg, Richard. “There’s A Target On Charity’s Booming Donor-Advised Funds “. Forbes. August 2, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/08/02/theres-a-target-on-charitys-booming-donor-advised-funds/#5147ecc37a32 ^
  9. Ludwig, Hayden. “Charitable Infidelity: Are DAFs Secure for Ideological Giving?.” Capital Research Center. September 20, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/charitable-infidelity-part-3/ ^
  10. Ludwig, Hayden. “Charitable Infidelity: Providing Clear Intent.” Capital Research Center. September 20, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/charitable-infidelity-part-2/ ^
  11. Ludwig, Hayden. “Charitable Infidelity: Providing Clear Intent.” Capital Research Center. September 20, 2018. Accessed April 22, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/charitable-infidelity-part-2/ ^

Donation Recipients

  1. Alliance for Open Society International (Open Society Institute Baltimore) (Non-profit)
  2. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation (Non-profit)
  3. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (Non-profit)
  4. Arizona Center for Empowerment (Non-profit)
  5. Campaign Legal Center (Non-profit)
  6. Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) (Non-profit)
  7. Center for Public Interest Research (Non-profit)
  8. Center for Rural Strategies (Non-profit)
  9. Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy (Non-profit)
  10. Chicago Media Project (CMP) (Non-profit)
  11. Chicken & Egg Pictures (Non-profit)
  12. Chinese Progressive Association (San Francisco) (Non-profit)
  13. Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum (CRES) (Non-profit)
  14. Compassion and Choices (Non-profit)
  15. EarthRights International (ERI) (Non-profit)
  16. East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (Non-profit)
  17. Environment America Research and Policy Center (Non-profit)
  18. Equality State Policy Center (Non-profit)
  19. Families USA Foundation (Non-profit)
  20. Filipino Advocates for Justice (Non-profit)
  21. Fractured Atlas Productions (Non-profit)
  22. Free Press (Non-profit)
  23. Freedom From Religion Foundation (Non-profit)
  24. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (Non-profit)
  25. Global Greengrants Fund (Non-profit)
  26. Good Jobs First (Non-profit)
  27. Highlander Research and Education Center (Non-profit)
  28. Hopewell Fund (Non-profit)
  29. Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) (Non-profit)
  30. Lambda Legal (Non-profit)
  31. Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (Non-profit)
  32. Mercy For Animals (Non-profit)
  33. National Consumer Law Center (Non-profit)
  34. National LGBTQ Task Force (Non-profit)
  35. National Public Radio (NPR) (Non-profit)
  36. National Urban League (Non-profit)
  37. National Women’s Law Center (Non-profit)
  38. New America (New America Foundation) (Non-profit)
  39. New Israel Fund (Non-profit)
  40. New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) (Non-profit)
  41. Oregon Center for Public Policy (Non-profit)
  42. Partnership for Public Service (Non-profit)
  43. Pathfinder International (Non-profit)
  44. Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (Non-profit)
  45. Political Research Associates (PRA) (Non-profit)
  46. Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (Non-profit)
  47. Progressive Maryland Education Fund (Non-profit)
  48. Represent.US Education Fund (Non-profit)
  49. Resources Legacy Fund (Non-profit)
  50. Robin Hood Foundation (Non-profit)
  51. Rock the Vote (Non-profit)
  52. Social Good Fund (Non-profit)
  53. Southern Environmental Law Center (Non-profit)
  54. Southerners on New Ground (Non-profit)
  55. Sundance Institute (Non-profit)
  56. TSNE MissionWorks (Non-profit)
  57. Truthout (Non-profit)
  58. U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG) Education Fund (Non-profit)
  59. Urban Justice Center (Non-profit)
  60. V-Day (Non-profit)
  61. WildEarth Guardians (Non-profit)
  62. Windward Fund (Non-profit)
  63. Workers Defense Project (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1999

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Jun Form 990 $3,147,045,622 $1,595,320,832 $10,634,353,155 $17,739,525 Y $3,078,088,538 $0 $68,957,084 $2,272,156 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $2,018,516,668 $1,198,758,599 $8,077,436,907 $19,193,812 Y $1,922,695,881 $0 $95,820,787 $2,023,060
    2015 Jun Form 990 $2,168,764,281 $1,079,216,044 $7,529,406,703 $9,200,442 Y $2,108,679,877 $0 $60,084,404 $1,703,076 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $1,858,309,238 $832,408,761 $6,437,214,367 $9,357,602 Y $1,814,889,301 $0 $43,419,937 $1,801,439 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $1,887,812,957 $608,089,857 $4,791,061,516 $10,087,997 Y $1,863,118,878 $0 $27,763,295 $2,318,251 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $722,470,714 $549,629,874 $3,175,884,124 $12,858,486 Y $702,551,521 $0 $19,941,833 $877,939 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $822,716,213 $514,305,128 $3,057,002,991 $17,760,442 Y $804,316,091 $0 $18,071,372 $1,863,902 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Schwab Charitable Fund

    211 MAIN STREET
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105-1905