Individuals, estates, foundations and corporations gave even more money in 2015 after setting record last year, reports Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy, released yesterday.
But that’s not the only big news about charitable giving in this year’s report.
“If you look at total giving by two-year time spans, the combined growth for 2014 and 2015 hit double digits, reaching 10.1 percent when calculated using inflation-adjusted dollars,” said Giving USA Foundation Chair W. Keith Curtis. “But these findings embody more than numbers—they also are a symbol of the American spirit. It’s heartening that people really do want to make a difference, and they’re supporting the causes that matter to them. Americans are embracing philanthropy at a higher level than ever before.”
Charitable contributions from all four sources went up in 2015, with those from individuals once again leading the way in terms of total dollar amount, at $264.58 billion. This follows the historical pattern seen over more than six decades.
Giving USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive report of its kind in America, is published by Giving USA Foundation, a public-service initiative of The Giving Institute. It is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Very large charitable donations—categorized here as gifts of $100 million or more—have garnered an increasing amount of attention over the past 10 to 15 years. In 2015, the very large contributions that were publicly announced totaled at least $3.3 billion.
“Each year, gifts of $100 million or more play a significant role for some individual donors and many different types of charities. However, Americans’ collective generosity would still be enormous even without those jaw-dropping gifts,” said Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs and research at the school. “Philanthropy is quite democratic and always has been—more people give than vote in the U.S.—and $20, $10 and $1 gifts do make a cumulative difference.”
The generosity could be due, in part, to at least two factors: The country’s overall economic environment continuing its path to recovery after recessionary times, and household finances seeming to stabilize during a time of healthy growth in personal consumption, personal income, disposable income, GDP, and, corporate pre-tax profits.
The Numbers for 2015 Charitable Giving by Source:
Individual giving, $264.58 billion, increased 3.8 percent in current dollars (and 3.7 percent when inflation-adjusted) over 2014.
Foundation giving, $58.46 billion, was 6.5 percent higher than 2014 (6.3 percent when inflation-adjusted).
Charitable bequests, $31.76 billion, increased 2.1 percent (1.9 percent when inflation-adjusted) over 2014.
Corporate giving, $18.45 billion, increased 3.9 percent (3.8 percent when inflation-adjusted) over 2014 giving.