Charitable Giving Increased 2.7 Percent in 2016, 'Giving USA' Finds

Charitable Giving Increased 2.7 Percent in 2016, 'Giving USA' Finds

Giving by individuals, corporations, and foundations totaled an estimated $390.05 billion in 2016, the latest edition of Giving USA reports.

Produced by the Giving USA Foundation and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016 found that giving rose 2.7 percent in current dollars (1.4 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars) from a revised 2015 estimate of $379.89 billion. Among the four categories of giving tracked by the study, giving by living individuals increased 3.9 percent (2.6 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars), to an estimated $281.86 billion; grantmaking by foundations rose 3.5 percent (2.2 percent), to $59.28 billion; and corporate giving was up 3.5 percent (2.3 percent), to $18.55 billion. The report also found that bequests fell 9 percent (10.1 percent), to $30.36 billion. Among foundations, grantmaking by community foundations increased the most, up some 9.9 percent, followed by operating foundations, up 4.5 percent, and independent foundations, up 2.3 percent.

The report also found that giving increased across all issue areas in 2016, with the biggest gains coming in the areas of environmental and animal welfare, up 7.2 percent (5.8 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars); arts, culture, and the humanities, up 6.4 percent (5.1 percent); international affairs, up 5.8 percent (4.6 percent); and health, up 5.7 percent (4.6 percent). Giving to education, on the other hand, saw relatively modest growth in 2016, up just 3.6 percent (2.3 percent), after seeing growth of more than 8 percent in 2014 and 2015.

"Individual giving continued its remarkable role in American philanthropy in a year that included a turbulent election season that reflected a globally resurgent populism," said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. "In this context, the absence of a dramatic change in giving is perhaps remarkable, but it also demonstrates the need for us to better understand the multitude of individual and collective decisions that comprise our record of national giving."