Giving hits record-high $358 billion

Charitable giving in the U.S. grew to $358.38 billion in 2014, marking the fifth straight year of growth and exceeding its peak in 2007 before the economy collapsed, a new report says.

Individuals, corporations, foundations and bequests all gave more, says Giving USA 2015, a report from the Giving USA Foundation and researched and written by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Total giving grew 7.1 percent in current dollars and 5.4 percent adjusted for inflation from the revised estimate of $339.94 billion in 2013.

Giving to religion, education, human services, and health reached record highs when adjusted for inflation, as did giving to arts, culture and humanities, and to the environment and animals.

Giving to foundations, public-society benefit organizations, and international affairs has not returned to or exceeded peak levels.

Who gives

Individuals gave $258.51 billion, up 5.7 percent in current dollars, or 4 percent adjusted for inflation, accounting for 72 percent of all giving.

Foundations gave $53.97 billion, up 8.2 percent, or 6.5 percent adjusted, accounting for 19 percent of all giving.

Bequests gave $28.13 billion, up 15.5 percent, or 13.6 percent adjusted, accounting 8 percent of all giving.

Corporations gave $17.77 billion, up 13.7 percent, or 11.9 percent adjusted, accounting for 5 percent of all giving.

Individual giving

The 5.7 percent increase in giving by individuals represented 58 percent of the increase in all giving.

Including giving by bequests and family foundations, individuals accounted for nearly 90 percent of all giving.

Itemized giving grew six percent and accounted for 83 percent of the total estimate for giving by individuals, while giving by non-itemizing households grew 4.1 percent.

Individual giving is affected by available, disposable household income, by wealth and by growth in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-market index, all of which grew last year, as did general spending by individuals, the Giving USA Foundation says.

Foundation giving

Grants by independent foundations grew 7.8 percent, accounting for 74 percent of giving by all foundations.

Grantmaking by community foundations grew 10.9 percent, while giving by operations foundations grew 8.1 percent.

Corporate giving

Corporate giving includes cash and in-kind contributions made through corporate-giving programs, as well as grants and gifts made by corporate foundations.

Corporate foundation grants totaled an estimated $5.34 billion, down 0.8 percent.

Where giving goes

Giving to religion totaled $114.9 billion in 2014, up 2.5 percent in current dollars from 2013, or 0.9 percent adjusted for inflation, accounting for 32 percent of all giving.

Giving to education totaled $54.62 billion, up 4.9 percent, or 3.2 percent adjusted, accounting for 12.7 percent of all giving.

Giving to human services totaled $42.1 billion, up 3.6 percent, or 1.9 percent adjusted, accounting for 11.7 percent of all giving.

Giving to health totaled $30.37 billion up 5.5 percent, or 3.8 percent adjusted, accounting for 8.5 percent of all giving.

Giving to arts, culture and humanities totaled $17.23 billion, up 9.2 percent, or 7.4 percent adjusted, accounting for 4.8 percent of all giving.

Giving to the environmental and animal organizations totaled $10.5 billion, up 7 percent, or 5.3 percent adjusted, accounting for 2.9 percent of all giving.

Giving to public-society benefit groups totaled $26.29 billion, up 5.1 percent, or 3.4 percent adjusted, accounting for 7.3 percent of all giving.

Giving to foundations totaled $41.62 billion, up 1.8 percent, or 0.1 percent adjusted, accounting for 11.6 percent of all giving.

Giving to international affairs totaled $15.1 billion, down 2 percent, or 3.6 percent adjusted, accounting for 4.2 percent of all giving.

Giving to individuals fell 10.2 percent to $6.42 billion, accounting for 2 percent of all giving. Giving to individuals consists mainly of in-kind donations of medication to patients in need through the Patient Assistance Programs of pharmaceutical companies’ operating foundations,

Giving to religion

While giving to religion grew to a new high of $114.9 billion and continued to account for the biggest share of overall giving, that share has declined steadily for 30 years. In 1987, giving to religion accounted for 53 percent of all giving, compared to 32 percent in 2014.

That decline reflects the fact that fewer Americans identify with religion, attend worship services, or give to houses of worship, the report says. Those trends, it says, have been noted among Baby Boomers, and are being seen among younger age groups.

Giving to donor-advised funds

Giving to the biggest national donor-advised funds slowed dramatically, the report said. That decline may have slighted reduced giving to public-society-benefit groups, the report says.

It also said giving to pass-through charities that redistribute their funds to other organizations had seen little or no growth in recent years.

Todd Cohen

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U.S. giving grows 4.4%; quicker rebound seen

Fueled by a surge in individual giving, charitable giving in the U.S. grew 4.4 percent to $335.17 billion in 2013, its highest level since the recession ended in 2009 and marking the fourth straight year of growth, a new report says.

The increase, which totaled 3 percent when adjusted for inflation, could signal an accelerated return to the peak U.S. philanthropy hit in 2007, when giving totaled $349.5 billion, adjusted for inflation, says Giving USA 2014.

Total giving has grown 22 percent since 2009, or 12.3 percent adjusted for inflation, while the increase in giving by individuals between 2011 and 2013 represents 73 percent of the growth in total giving during that period, says the report from the Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Rising confidence and the sustained growth in overall giving could indicate that giving could rebound to its previous peak in a year or two, sooner than previously expected, the report says.

Sources of giving

Giving by individuals, foundations and bequest all grew, while giving by corporations fell slightly, the result of a slow rate of growth — 3.4 percent — in pre-tax corporate profits in 2013.

Giving by individuals grew 4.2 percent to $240.6 billion, or 2.7 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 72 percent of total giving. Including giving by bequest and family foundations, giving by individuals represented 87 percent of total giving.

Giving by foundations grew 5.7 percent to $48.96 billion, or 4.2 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 15 percent of all gifts.

Grantmaking by community foundations grew 10.5 percent, while grantmaking by operating and independent foundations grew 6.6 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.

Giving by foundations has increased for the last three years, adjusted for inflation, generally reflecting increases in assets and increased confidence among grantmakers in their financial recovery, the report says.

Giving by bequest grew 8.7 percent to $27.73 billion, or 7.2 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 8 percent of all gifts.

And giving by corporations fell 1.9 percent to $17.88 billion, or a decline of 3.2 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 5 percent of all giving.

Corporate giving includes cash and in-kind contributions made through corporate giving programs, as well as grants and gifts made by corporate foundations.

Corporate foundation grantmaking totaled an estimated $5.7 billion, up 5 percent from 2012.

Over the past five years, the report says, giving by corporations has grown 19.4 percent, adjusted for inflation, compared to an increase of 12.3 percent for giving overall.

In 2012,  corporate giving grew 16.9 percent in current dollars, driven by a surge in corporate profits. That increase also helps explain the relative decline in corporate giving in 2013, the report says.

Also helping to drive the increase in overall giving in 2013 was significant growth in gifts of $80 million or more  from individuals, couples and estates, the report says.

Those gifts may signal growing confidence among wealthy donors in making larger gifts, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy says.

Focus of giving

While giving to education, human services, health, foundations, and the environment and animals have reached or exceeded all-time highs, in inflation-adjusted dollars, since the recession ended in mid-2009, the report says, giving to foundations fell 15.5 percent in 2013.

And giving to international affairs fell 6.7 percent, possibly a result in part of lower overall corporate support for charities in 2013.

Giving to religion was flat, slipping 0.2 percent to $105.53 billion, or a decline of 1.6 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, and accounting for the biggest share of all giving, or 31 percent.

Recent declines in religious giving are partly the result of a drop in the percentage of Americans who consider themselves religious and attend congregations, the report says.

Giving to education grew 8.9 percent to $52.07 billion, or 7.4 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 16 percent of all giving.

Giving to human services grew 2.2 percent to $41.51 billion, or 0.7 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 12 percent of all giving.

Giving to foundations fell 15.5 percent to $35.74 billion, or a decline of 16.7 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 11 percent of all giving.

Giving to health organizations grew 6 percent to $31.86 billion, or 4.5 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 10 percent of all giving.

Giving to public-society benefit organizations grew 8.5 percent to $23.89 billion, or 7 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 7 percent of all giving.

Giving to arts, culture and humanities grew 7.8 percent to $16.66 billion, or 6.3 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 5 percent of all giving.

Giving to international affairs fell 6.7 percent to $14.93 billion, or a decline of 8 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 4 percent of all giving.

Giving to environmental and animal organizations grew 7.5 percent to $9.72 billion, or 6 percent adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 3 percent of all giving.

And gifts made directly to individuals grew 1.4 percent to $3.7 billion, and accounted for 1 percent of all giving. Gifts to individuals consisted mainly of in-kind gifts of medications to patients in need, made through patient assistance programs of the operating foundations of pharmaceutical companies.

Todd Cohen

Giving in U.S. grows, still lags 2007 peak

Powered by individual donors and corporate funders, charitable giving in the U.S. grew 3.5 percent to $316.23 billion in 2012, or an increase of 1.5 percent adjusted for inflation, a new report says.

Giving by foundations also grew, while giving by bequest fell, according to Giving USA, an annual report on giving in the U.S. from the Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Still, at its current pace and adjusted for inflation, giving overall likely will take six to seven years to regain the peak it reached in 2007, the year before the economy crashed, says Patrick M. Rooney, associate dean of academic affairs and research at the School of Philanthropy.

Individuals give most, still struggling

Giving by living individuals grew 3.9 percent to $228.93 billion in 2012, or an increase of 1.9 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 72 percent of all giving.

Including giving through bequests and family foundations, giving by individuals represented 86 percent of all giving.

The slight inflation-adjusted increase in giving by living individuals may reflect “the fact that the average household is still struggling in some areas,” Patrick M. Rooney, associate dean of academic affairs and research at  School of Philanthropy, says in a statement.

Giving to religion, which accounted for nearly a third of overall giving, was virtually flat, while giving to the arts, culture and humanities surged after plunging in 2008 and slowly growing through 2011.

Giving to environmental and animal charities also surged, while international giving flattened.

Corporate giving grows

Giving by corporations grew 12.2 percent to $18.15 billion, or an increase of 9.9 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 6 percent of all giving.

Corporate giving consisted of cash, in-kind donations and grants from corporations and their foundations, and included $131 million they gave to nonprofits for relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Corporate giving is strongly tied to profits, says Giving USA, which cited data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showing an increase of 16.6 percent in corporate pre-tax profits.

Giving by bequests fell 7 percent to $23.41 billion, or a decline of 8.9 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 7 percent of all giving.

And giving by foundations grew 4.4 percent to $45.74 billion, or an increase of 2.3 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 15 percent of all giving.

Giving by community foundations grew 9.1 percent, while giving by operating and private foundations grew 3.5 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

Religion, education, human services get most

Giving to religion which represented the biggest share of all giving, or 32 percent,  fell 0.2 percent to $101.54 billion, or a drop of 2.2 percent adjusted for inflation.

Giving to education and human services each accounted for 13 percent of all giving.

Giving to education grew 7 percent to $41.33 billion, or an increase of 4.9 percent adjusted for inflation, with four-year colleges and universities getting 75 percent of all giving to education.

Giving to human services grew 3.8 percent to $40.4 billion, or an increase of 1.8 percent adjusted for inflation, with organizations working on relief and recovery efforts in the wake off Hurricane Sandy getting $223 million.

Foundations get less

Giving to foundations fell 4.6 percent to $30.58 billion, or a drop of 6.5 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 10 percent of all giving.

Giving to public-society benefit organizations, or umbrella groups such as United Ways, the Combined Federal Campaign and Jewish Federations of North America that receive donations and then redistribute them to charities, grew 5.4 percent to $21.63 billion, or an increase of 3.3 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 7 percent of all giving.

National donor-advised funds continued to post strong growth in charitable gifts, while organizations assisting people affected by Hurricane Sandy received $54 million.

Fewer international disasters

Giving to international affairs grew 2.5 percent to $19.11 billion, or an increase of 0.4 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 6 percent of all giving.

That increase, after high growth rates in some recent years, reflected fewer international disasters that captured the attention of Americans, who may have replaced that giving with donations to domestic organizations providing relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Giving USA says.

Giving to organizations in arts, culture and humanities, after plunging 17.6 percent and slowly growing through 2011, grew 7.8 percent in 2012 to $14.44 billion, or an increase of 5.7 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 5 percent of all giving.

Environment, animals get more

Giving to environmental and animal organizations grew 6.8 percent to $8.3 billion or an increase of 4.7 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 3 percent of all giving.

And giving to individuals, mainly including medications provided through Patient Assistance Programs administered by the operating foundations of pharmaceutical companies, fell 6.8 percent to $3.96 billion, or a drop of 8.8 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 1 percent of all giving.

Unallocated giving totaled $6.82 billion and represented 2 percent of all giving.

Unallocated giving includes itemized deductions that individuals and households “carried over” from a previous year — with a donor claiming a gift on a return in one tax year, and a charity receiving a gift and reporting it as revenue in another year. Unallocated giving also includes gifts to government entities, which do not report charitable contributions at the national level; gifts by foundations to entities in other countries; gifts made to new organizations that have not yet been classified as to  what type of charity they are; and deductions taken by a donor who forms a charitable trust but does not tell the recipient organization.

Todd Cohen