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National report shows increased giving was offset by inflation

October 11, 2022
Charitable giving in the nation hit a record in 2021, but inflation has slightly dulled its impact.

The annual Giving USA report, released earlier this summer, tracks Americans’ giving patterns and indicated that charitable gifts grew from $466 billion in 2020 to $485 billion in 2021, a 4% increase. But when adjusted for inflation, those contributions represented a drop of 0.7%.

Individuals accounted for 67%, or $327 billion, of overall giving; foundations accounted for 19% ($91 billion); bequests, 9% ($46 billion); and corporations, 4% ($21 billion).

The report called attention to corporate giving, which increased 23.8% over 2020. But the report noted that 2021 was a banner year for corporate profits, and that the giving level is less than 1% of corporate pre-tax profits.

Arts and cultural groups, which experienced financial challenges during the pandemic, saw a 27.5% increase in contribution levels to $23.5 billion. Conversely, giving to education dropped 2.8% to $71 billion following a 2020 spike in contributions that was attributed to donations to vaccine and other health research at university-affiliated centers.

Giving increased 23.5% over the prior year to public benefit organizations, which include civil rights and voting rights organizations, as well as donor advised funds.

Gifts to religious organizations represented 27% ($136 billion) of total contributions, a 5.4 percent increase.

The Giving USA Foundation, The Giving Institute and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy collaborate in developing this report, which has been produced for more than 60 years. Additional information can be found at GivingUSA2022_Infographic.pdf and IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy News: News & Events: Lilly Family School of Philanthropy: IUPUI.
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