2015 America’s Most Generous Year Ever – Giving USA
16 June 2016 at 8:46 am
Charitable donations from America’s individuals, estates, foundations and corporations reached an estimated US$373.25 billion in 2015 (A$504.89 billion), setting a record for the second year in a row, according to the latest Giving USA Report.
The report Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015, said 2015 set a new peak in contributions, with total giving growing 4.1 per cent in current dollars (4.0 percent when adjusted for inflation) over 2014.
“If you look at total giving by two-year time spans, the combined growth for 2014 and 2015 hit double digits, reaching 10.1 per cent when calculated using inflation-adjusted dollars,” Giving USA Foundation chair Keith Curtis said.
“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.”
The report found that 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 US$264.58 billion (A$357.89B).
Giving USA, the longest-running report of its kind in America, is published by Giving USA Foundation, a public-service initiative of The Giving Institute and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
“The last two years represent the highest and second-highest totals for giving – and the third and fourth largest percentage increases in giving – in the past 10 years, adjusted for inflation,” Dr Amir Pasic, dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy said.
“The share of total giving going to each type of recipient was virtually the same in 2015 as it was in 2014. During and after the recession, some donors redirected donations to assist with pressing needs. The fact that the portion of the giving ‘pie’ destined for the various subsectors has been largely consistent for the past two years suggests that giving among the broad destination categories may be stabilising.”
Very large charitable donations with gifts of $100 million or more totaled US$3.3 billion (A$4.46B).
The report found that not only did individuals give the most, by upping their gifts 3.8 per cent when measured in current dollars in 2015, they were responsible for two-thirds of the year’s overall increase in total giving.
In 2015, the largest year-over-year percentage increase in contributions from sources, however, came via grants made by the country’s independent, community and operating foundations, according to data provided by the Foundation Center.
It went up 6.5 per cent in current dollars, and 6.3 per cent when adjusted for inflation. Over the past several years, foundations have seen strong asset growth, helping drive their ability to increase donations made in the form of grants.
— David Knowles (@KodaDavidK) June 15, 2016
2015 charitable giving by source:
- Individual giving increased 3.8 per cent in current dollars over 2014.
- Foundation giving was 6.5 per cent higher than 2014.
- Charitable bequests increased 2.1 per cent over 2014.
- Corporate giving increased 3.9 per cent over 2014 giving.
The report said that sustained growth in total giving for 2014 and 2015 could be due, in part, to the country’s overall economic environment continuing its path to recovery after recessionary times, and household finances seeming to stabilise.
2015 charitable giving highlights:
- Giving to educational institutions remained strong, growth exceeded 5 per cent in 2015, as it also did in four of the five years between 2010 and 2014.
- The giving to religion slice of Giving USA’s recipient pie chart, which measures the percentage of donations made to nine charitable subsectors, has steadily shrunk for decades.
- Many valuable gifts of artwork, books and manuscripts, along with other types of “appreciated assets” were donated to charitable organisations in 2015.
- Giving to foundations was the only category in 2015 where donations decreased – by 3.8 per cent in current dollars. Since foundations tend to receive very large gifts, it is possible their magnitude was not as great in 2015 compared to 2014, especially since those contributions influence year-over-year changes in giving.
- Giving to international affairs increased 17.5 per cent in 2015 after two straight years of decline.
2015 charitable giving numbers:
- Religion – at US$119.30 billion (A$161.10B), 2015 giving increased 2.7 per cent in current dollars.
- Education – giving increased to US$57.48 billion (A$77.62B), 8.9 per cent more in current dollars than the 2014 total.
- Human Services – its US$45.21 billion (A$61.45B) total was 4.2 per cent higher, in current dollars, than in 2014.
- To Foundations – at an estimated US$42.26 billion (A$57.07B) in 2015, giving declined 3.8 per cent in current dollars.
- Health – the US$29.81 billion (A$40.25B) estimated for 2015 giving to this category was 1.3 per cent higher, in current dollars, than the 2014 estimate.
- Public-Society Benefit – the US$26.95 billion (A$36.39B) estimate for 2015 increased 6.0 per cent in current dollars over 2014.
- Arts/Culture/Humanities – at an estimated US$17.07 billion (A$23.05B), growth in current dollars was 7.0 per cent in 2015.
- International Affairs – the US$15.75 billion (A$21.27B) estimate for 2015 increased 17.5 per cent, in current dollars, from 2014.
- Environment/Animals – the US$10.68 billion (A$14.42B) estimate for 2015 was up 6.2 per cent in current dollars over 2014 giving.