Gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations reached an estimated $358.38 billion in 2014, surpassing the peak last seen before the Great Recession, the sixtieth anniversary edition of Giving USA reports.
Produced by the Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the report found that giving increased 7.1 percent in current dollars (5.4 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars) compared to the revised estimate of $339.94 billion that Americans gave in 2013. In addition, 2014 marked the fifth consecutive year in which giving increased, with the average annual increase rising to 5.5 percent in current dollars (3.4 percent in inflation-adjusted figures).
The report also noted that giving increased in all four categories it tracks — living individuals (72 percent of the total), foundations (15 percent), bequests (8 percent), and corporations (5 percent) — with individual giving up 5.7 percent, to $258.51 billion; foundation giving up 8.2 percent, to $53.97 billion; bequests up 15.5 percent, to $28.13 billion; and corporate giving up 13.7 percent, to $17.77 billion. Several gifts in excess of $200 million, many of them made by younger individuals, drove the growth in giving by individuals, said Patrick Rooney, associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Lilly School of Philanthropy. Within the overall foundation category, giving was up across all three subcategories — independent, operating, and community — with independent foundations, which saw their giving increase 7.8 percent, accounting for 74 percent of all giving by foundations.
"The sixty-year high for total giving is a great story about resilience and perseverance," said W. Keith Curtis, chair of the Giving USA Foundation. "It's also interesting to consider that growth was across the board, even though criteria used to make decisions about giving differ for each source."