Charitable giving in 2019 up 4.2 percent, 'Giving USA' finds

Charitable giving in 2019 up 4.2 percent, 'Giving USA' finds

Giving by individuals, corporations, and foundations totaled an estimated $449.64 billion in 2019, up from a revised total of $431.43 billion in 2018, the latest edition of Giving USA reports.

Produced by the Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of PhilanthropyGiving USA 2020: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2019 (executive summary, 3 pages, PDF) found that charitable giving in 2019 rose 4.2 percent (2.4 percent, adjusted for inflation) on a year-over-year basis — the highest level on record, and second highest, behind 2017, adjusted for inflation. According to the report, giving by individuals in 2019 totaled an estimated $309.66 billion, up 4.7 percent (2.8 percent, adjusted for inflation), even as its share of total giving fell below 70 percent for only the second time in the report's sixty-five-year history, while giving by foundations increased 2.5 percent (0.7 percent, adjusted for inflation), to $75.69 billion, with grantmaking by community, operating, and independent foundations up 5.6 percent, 1.3 percent, and 2.2 percent, respectively. Bequests remained flat in 2019, at 0.2 percent (-1.6 percent, adjusted for inflation), while cash and in-kind corporate giving jumped 13.4 percent (11.4 percent, adjusted for inflation), to $21.09 billion, including $7.52 billion in grantmaking by corporate foundations, an increase of 10.5 percent on a year-over-year basis.

The report also found that giving in all but one of nine issue areas was up in both current dollars and adjusted for inflation, and reached its highest-ever total in six of those areas. The list was topped by giving to religion, which totaled an estimated $128.17 billion, up 2.3 percent (0.5 percent, adjusted for inflation), followed by education ($64.11 billion), up 12.1 percent (10.1 percent); human services ($55.99 billion), up 5 percent (3.1 percent); and  foundations ($53.51 billion), up 2.5 percent (0.6 percent). Giving to health organizations totaled an estimated  $41.46 billion, up 6.8 percent (4.9 percent), while giving to public-society benefit organizations totaled $37.16 billion, up 13.1 percent (11.1 percent); giving to  the arts, culture, and humanities totaled $21.64 billion, up 12.6 percent (10.6 percent); and giving to environmental and animal rights organizations totaled $14.16 billion, up 11.3 percent (9.4 percent). The only issue area that did not see an increase in giving was international affairs, down 0.4 percent (-2.2 percent), to $28.89 billion.

"In 2019, we saw solid, broad-based growth in almost all aspects of charitable giving, and especially in giving by individuals due to strong growth in the S&P 500 and personal income," said Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. "While giving trends vary by donors' income and wealth, since the Great Recession we have seen giving become more concentrated toward the top end of the income and wealth spectrum. We will continue to monitor how current events affect giving patterns."

"Giving USA 2020: Charitable giving showed solid growth, climbing to $449.64 billion in 2019, one of the highest years for giving on record." Giving USA press release 06/16/2020. "Giving USA 2020: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2019." Giving USA report 06/16/2020.