Giving by individuals, corporations, and foundations totaled an estimated $410.02 billion in 2017, topping the $400 billion mark for the first time, the latest edition of Giving USA reports.
Produced by the Giving USA Foundation and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017 found that giving for the twelve-month period rose 5.2 percent in current dollars (3 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars), with giving by living individuals up 5.2 percent (3 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars), to an estimated $286.65 billion; grantmaking by foundations up 6 percent (3.8 percent), to an estimated $66.9 billion; corporate giving up 8 percent (5.7 percent), to an estimated $20.77 billion; and bequests up 2.3 percent (0.2 percent), to an estimated $35.7 billion. Based on data provided by Foundation Center, the report also found that giving by foundations has seen strong growth over the last seven years, with a five-year annualized average growth rate of 7.6 percent, compared with a 4.3 percent annualized growth rate for total giving over the same period.
According to the report, giving increased across all issue areas except international affairs — which saw a decline of 4.4 percent (-6.4 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars) — with gains of 8.7 percent (5.5 percent) for the arts, culture, and the humanities, 7.8 percent for public-society benefit organizations, 7.3 percent for health, 7.2 percent for environmental and animal organizations, 6.2 percent for education, 5.1 percent for human services, and 2.9 percent for religion. And giving to foundations saw a 15.5 percent (13.1 percent) jump, to an estimated $45.89 billion — driven by large gifts from Michael and Susan Dell and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan to their primary philanthropies — while giving to individuals fell 20.7 percent (22.4 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars).
"The increase in giving in 2017 was generated in part by increases in the stock market, as evidenced by the nearly 20 percent growth in the S&P 500. Investment returns funded multiple very large gifts, most of which were given by individuals to their foundations, including two gifts of $1 billion or more," said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. "This tells us that some of our most fortunate citizens are using their wealth to make some significant contributions to the common good."