Total Charitable Giving in the U.S. Declines


Total Charitable Giving in the U.S. Declines

An estimated $427.7 billion was donated to charities in the United States last year, a drop of 1.7% after adjusting for inflation, according to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018.

And giving by individuals dropped 3.4% after adjusting for inflation, to an estimated $292.1 billion. The report said the decline may have been caused by changes in tax law that doubled the standard deduction, reducing an incentive for charitable giving.

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“[T]he environment for giving in 2018 was far more complex than most years, with shifts in tax policy and the volatility of the stock market,” said Rick Dunham, the chair of the Giving USA Foundation, which publishes the annual charitable giving report, and CEO of Dunham + Co. “This is particularly true for the wide range of households that comprise individual giving and provide over two-thirds of all giving.”

Although individual donations dropped, donations from foundations and corporations “were buoyed by the strong run of the stock market in the past few years,” the report said.

Some of the report’s highlights:

  • Giving by foundations increased by 4.7%, adjusted for inflation, to $75.9 billion in 2018.
  • Giving by bequest totaled an estimated $39.7 billion in 2018, a 2.3% decline, adjusted for inflation.
  • Giving by corporations rose an estimated 2.9%, adjusted for inflation, to $20 billion.