Giving in U.S. grows to record-high $373.25 billion

Charitable giving in the U.S. grew to $373.25 billion in 2015, posting an all-time high for the second straight year and growing 4.1 percent in current dollars from 2014 and four percent when adjusted for inflation, a new report says.

Continuing a long-term trend of six decades, living individuals accounted for the biggest share of overall giving, including 71 percent from living individuals and 87 percent from living individuals, bequests and family foundations.

Also continuing a long-term trend, religion received the biggest share of charitable giving, 32 percent, although that share has been declining steadily for decades.

According to a revised estimate, total giving in 2014 totaled $359.04 billion, up 7.8 percent in current dollars and 6.1 percent adjusted for inflation, says Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015.

The report is published by Giving USA Foundation, an initiative of The Giving Institute, and is researched and written by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Sources of giving

Giving by individuals grew 3.8 percent to $264.58 billion, or 3.7 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for two-thirds of the overall increase in total giving.

Giving by foundations grew 6.5 percent to $58.46 billion, or 6.3 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 16 percent of total giving.

Giving through charitable bequests grew 2.1 percent to $31.76 billion, or 1.9 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for nine percent of total giving.

Corporate giving grew 3.9 percent to $18.45 billion, or 3.8 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 5 percent of total giving.

Recipients of giving

Giving to religion grew 2.7 percent to $119.30 billion, or 2.6 percent adjusted for inflation. Its share of total giving, 32 percent, was unchanged from 2014.

Giving to education grew 8.9 percnet to $57.48 billion, or 8.8 percent in adjusted dollars, and accounted for 15 percent of total giving, with giving to higher education accounting for roughly 70 percent of giving to education.

Giving to human services grew 4.2 percent to $45.21 billion, or 4.1 percent adjusted, and accountd for 12 percent of total giving.

Giving to foundations fell 3.8 percent to $42.26 billion, or four percent adjusted, and accounted for 11 percent of total giving.

Giving to health organizations grew 1.3 percent to $29.81 billion, or 1.2 percent adjusted, and accounterd for eight percent total giving.

Giving to public-society benefit organizations grew six percent to $26.95 billion, or 5.9 percent adjusted, and accounted for seven percent of total giving.

Giving to arts, culture and humanities grew seven percent to $17.07 billion, or 6.8 percent adjusted, and accounted for five percent of total giving.

Giving to international affairs grew 17.5 percent to $15.75 billion, or 17.4 percent adjusted, and accounted for four percent of total giving.

Giving to environmental and animal organizations grew 6.2 percent to $10.68 billion, or 6.1 percent adjusted, and accounted for three percent of total giving.

Giving to individuals fell 1.6 percent to $6.56 billion, or 1.8 percent adjusted, and accounted for two percent of total giving, with most of those donations consisting of in-kind gifts of medication to patients in need, made through patient assistance progams of operations foundations at pharmaceutical companies.

Unallocated giving totaled $2.18 billion in 2015, and accounted for one percent of total giving.

Todd Cohen

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