Giving USA: 2015 Was America’s Most-Generous Year Ever

June 14, 2016
| by Editor |

Charitable donations hit record for second year in a row, at estimated $373.25 billion according to the report from Giving USA 2016’s Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015.

We took a look at the study and found that in previous years most of the United States' charitable giving leaned mostly toward religous and educational organizations. This year, the numbers show a mix of various causes being supported including human services, the arts, health, international affairs, the environment, and animal services. 

Why is America Giving Back?

For two years in a row there has been an increase in charitable giving, which could be related to these two elements:

  1. The overall economy is stronger and is recoving from recessionary times. 

  2. Stabilizing household finances

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.

The Numbers for 2015 Charitable Giving to Recipients:

  • Religion—at $119.30 billion, 2015 giving increased 2.7 percent in current dollars, and 2.6 percent when adjusted for inflation.
  • Education—giving increased to $57.48 billion, 8.9 percent more in current dollars than the 2014 total. The inflation-adjusted increase was 8.8 percent.

  • Human Services—its $45.21 billion total was 4.2 percent higher, in current dollars, than in 2014. The inflation-adjusted increase was 4.1 percent.

  • To Foundations—at an estimated $42.26 billion in 2015, giving declined 3.8 percent in current dollars and decreased 4.0 percent when adjusted for inflation.

  • Health—the $29.81 billion estimated for 2015 giving to this category was 1.3 percent higher, in current dollars, than the 2014 estimate. When adjusted for inflation, the increase was 1.2 percent.

  • Public-Society Benefit—the $26.95 billion estimate for 2015 increased 6.0 percent in current dollars over 2014. When adjusted for inflation, the increase was 5.9 percent.

  • Arts/Culture/Humanities—at an estimated $17.07 billion, growth in current dollars was 7.0 percent in 2015. When adjusted for inflation, the increase was 6.8 percent.

  • International Affairs—the $15.75 billion estimate for 2015 increased 17.5 percent, in current dollars, from 2014. The increase was 17.4 percent when adjusted for inflation.

  • Environment/Animals—the $10.68 billion estimate for 2015 was up 6.2 percent in current dollars, and 6.1 percent when adjusted for inflation, over 2014 giving.

Download the Giving USA reports here

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