Charitable Giving Grew 13 Percent in 2013, Atlas of Giving Estimates

Preliminary data collected by Atlas of Giving, a monthly analysis and forecast of charitable giving in the United States by sector, source, and state, suggest that charitable giving increased 12.9 percent in 2013, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Based on an algorithm that incorporates a range of economic, demographic, and event factors, the Dallas-based group that produces the Atlas estimates that charitable giving totaled $416.5 billion in 2013, up from $368.8 billion a year earlier — and the third straight year that charitable giving has increased since falling to $316.5 billion in 2009.

In 2013, according to the Atlas forecast, individuals accounted for about 75 percent of total giving, or about $310.8 billion, up from $276.6 billion in 2012; foundations accounted for 13.9 percent, or $57.8 billion, up from $48.7 billion; corporations accounted for 4.8 percent, or $20.1 billion, up from $18.4 billion; and bequests accounted for 6.7 percent, or $27.9 billion, up from $25.1 billion.

Among issue areas, giving to religious causes rose 8.6 percent in 2013, to $143.1 billion, even as its share of total giving fell slightly, from 36 percent to 35 percent. It was followed by giving to education, which was up 15.7 percent, to $68.2 billion. The forecast also estimates that giving to human needs/disaster services grew fastest in 2013, up 18.7 percent to $49.6 billion and accounting for 11.9 percent of all giving, while giving to health-related causes totaled $32.3 billion, up 10.8 percent on a year-over-year basis.

"One of the things that has really driven charitable numbers has been the ramp-up in the stock market," Atlas of Giving CEO Rob Mitchell told the Times. "When stock values are high, it makes a huge difference in the amount of money going into education, but it has little or no impact on religious donations, which rely on lots of small gifts from individuals."