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Disaster Relief Boosts Giving in US

3 July 2006 at 1:07 pm
Staff Reporter
Charitable giving in the United States rose 6% to more than $US260 billion in 2005 Boosted by disaster relief funds which tops all records and totals 3% of all giving in that country.

Staff Reporter | 3 July 2006 at 1:07 pm


Disaster Relief Boosts Giving in US
3 July 2006 at 1:07 pm

Charitable giving in the United States rose 6% to more than $US260 billion in 2005
Boosted by disaster relief funds which tops all records and totals 3% of all giving in that country.

Giving USA, the yearbook of philanthropy, estimates Americans gave total contributions of $US260.28 billion for 2005, growth of 6.1 percent (2.7 percent adjusted for inflation).

2005 saw extraordinary philanthropic response to three major natural disasters. About half of the $US15 billion increase in total giving from the revised estimate of $245.22 billion in 2004 is attributable to disaster relief giving.

The other half reflects donors’ commitments to other causes that matter to them.

Giving USA is published by the Giving USA Foundation and researched and written by the Centre on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Giving USA found that 59% of organizations reported an increase in charitable receipts in 2005. This is even before adding contributions for disaster relief.
And 2005 saw the highest percentage of charitable organizations reporting growth since 2000 and the lowest percentage of charities reporting a drop in giving.

Major natural disasters in the U.S. and abroad between December 2004 and October 2005 generated at least $US7.37 billion in contributions (2.8 percent of total estimated giving) in 2005.

Of the disaster giving, individuals contributed an estimated $US5.83 billion, or 79% of the estimated total in disaster relief contributions for 2005.

Corporations gave an estimated $US1.38 billion, or 19 % of the estimated total of disaster relief gifts. The balance of disaster relief giving, an estimated $US160 million ($0.16 billion) based on records from the Foundation Centre, was paid by foundations in 2005, for 2%of the estimated amount for disaster relief.

Richard Jolly, the chair of the Giving USA Foundation says disaster relief certainly played a role in 2005 with contributions estimated to be roughly 3% of the total. An additional $253 billion in gifts supported more than 1.4 million charities including religious congregations, schools, clinics, arts groups, food banks, and more.

Giving USA reports giving from four sources of contributions – individual (living) donors; bequests by deceased individuals; foundations; and corporations.

Individual giving is always the largest single source of donations. It rose by 6.4%. (2.9% adjusted for inflation) to an estimated $199.07 billion. It accounts for 76.5% of all estimated giving in 2005.

One measure of charitable giving is as a percentage of income. Using the household as the economic level at which giving decisions are made, average charitable giving per household in 2005 is estimated to be 2.2 percent of average household disposable (after-tax) income, exactly at the 40-year average of 2.2%.

Charitable bequests are estimated to have fallen 5.5% in 2005, largely due to a steep decline in the number of deaths in 2004 and an expectation that the number of deaths for 2005 remained low.

Estimated charitable bequests of $17.44 billion are 6.7% of total estimated charitable giving for 2005.

Foundation grantmaking, which is reported by the Foundation Centre, rose 5.6% (2.1% adjusted for inflation) to $US30 billion. The Foundation Centre, which reported this information in April 2006, said the increase was because of growth in the number of foundations and because the stock market rose in 2004 and held steady in 2005.
Foundation giving is 11.5% of total estimated charitable giving in 2005.

Corporate donations grew by an unprecedented 22.5% (18.5 percent adjusted for inflation), to reach an estimated $US13.77 billion. At 5.3% of the total estimate for charitable gifts, corporations account for a slightly larger slice of the pie than the average of 5% given by corporations in the past 40 years.

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