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

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

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

Giving inches up; recovery from plunge slow

Charitable giving in the U.S. grew slightly in 2011, regaining some of its losses from the collapse of the economy in 2008 but posting a two-year pace that marks the second-slowest post-recession recovery since 1971, a new report says.

After adjusting for inflation, giving grew 0.9 percent to $298.42 billion from a revised estimate of $268.91 billion in 2010, says Giving USA, a report from the Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

In 2010 and 2011, giving grew by an average rate of 1.1 percent, compared to an average of 2.6 percent, after adjusted for inflation, in the two-year period after each recession over the past 40 years, the report says.

Individuals accounted for 88 percent of all giving, with living individuals accounting for 73 percent total giving, and bequests and family foundations accounting for 15 percent.

Giving by living individuals grew to $217.79 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent after adjusting for inflation.

Individual giving as a share of disposable personal income was flat at 1.9 percent in 2011, the same as 2009 and 2010, but far below the 2005 high of 2.4 percent.

Corporate giving totaled $14.55 billion, down 3.1 percent from 2010 after adjusting for inflation, and represented 5 percent of total giving.

Corporate pre-tax profits, traditionally a key factor in corporate donation levels, grew 4.2 percent, compared to 25 percent in 2010, the report says.

Between 1971 and 2011, giving by companies grew more slowly than the average inflation rate, with donations by U.S. companies growing 3.1 percent a year, on average, during the period, compared to inflation that averaged 4.4 percent a year for the period.

“Corporate generosity is real, and the nation’s charities would certainly feel its absence should the contributions go away,” Jim Yunker, chair of the Giving USA Foundation, says in a statement. “However, at a year-in, year-out 5 percent-sized slice of the giving pie, pragmatic nonprofits should consider additional potential funding sources when planning their appeals.”

The report calculates total giving by roughly 117 million households in the U.S., 12.4 million corporations that claim charitable donations, an estimated 99,000 estates, and about 76,000 foundations.

Those donations go to about 1.1million charities registered with the IRS, plus at least 222,000 religious organizations.

Gifts by bequests totaled an estimated $24.41 billion in 2011, up 8.8 percent from 2010 after adjusting for inflation, and represented 8 percent of total giving.

Giving by foundations totaled $41.67 billion, up 8.8 percent after adjusting for inflation, and represented 14 percent of total giving.

Religious groups received $95.88 million, down 4.7 percent when adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 32 percent of all giving, the most of any sector.

That represented the second straight year of lower giving to religious groups, the report says, citing declines in church membership and attendance, especially among mainline Protestant denominations, as well as the changing economic climate.

Those declines coincide with average population growth in the U.S. of 1 percent a year, on average, the report says.

“Any charity that is heavily dependent on its members for the majority of its annual budget needs to be cognizant of issues that could affect growth, commitment and donations,” Thomas W. Mesaros, chair of the Giving Institute, the group that formed the Giving USA Foundation, says in a statement.

Giving to human-services totaled $35.39 billion, down 0.6 percent after adjusting for inflation, and represented 12 percent of overall charitable donations.

Still, giving to human services was the third-highest ever, trailing only 2008 and 2010, the report says, adding that human-services giving typically is strong during times of perceived need.

“It is possible that pertinent messaging from these charities is still resonating with donors,” it says.

Giving to education totaled $38.87 billion, up 0.9 percent from 2010 after adjusting for inflation, and represented 13 percent of all charitable donations, while giving to health totaled $35.39 billion, down 0.4 percent after adjusting for inflation and representing 8 percent of overall giving.

Giving to foundations fell 8.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars to $25.83 billion and represented 9 percent of overall giving, while giving to “public-society-benefit” groups such as United Ways and the Combined Federal Campaign grew 0.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars to $21.37 billion and represented 7 percent of overall giving.

In comparison, the report says, the three largest donor-advised funds in the U.S. – Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Schwab Charitable Gift Fund, and Vanguard Charitable Gift Fund – realized average growth of 77 percent in contributions received between 2010 and 2012.

Giving to arts, culture and humanities grew 1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars to $13.12 billion and represented 4 percent of all charitable giving, while giving to international affairs grew 4.4 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars and represented 8 percent of overall giving.

From 2001 to 2011, giving to international groups grew 167.1 percent when adjusted for inflation, representing the fastest growth of any sector for the period.

Since 1987, giving to international affairs grew at an annual average rate of 9.4 percent, compared to a 4.4 percent average annual rate of inflation.

Giving to environmental and animal groups grew 1.4 percent, adjusted for inflation, to $7.81 billion, or 3 percent of overall giving, with gifts of $1 million or more to support the ongoing cleanup from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico likely contributing to the increase.

And giving to individuals, mainly medications from operating foundations created by pharmaceutical makers, accounting for 1 percent of overall giving, and another $8.97 billion, or 3 percent, representing “unallocated” giving.