Charitable Giving Up Slightly Last Year

June 24, 2013 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

giving USA

The new Giving USA report says total charitable giving by individuals and foundations is estimated at $316 billion last year, a very modest 1.5% increase over the previous year’s figure. Researched and written by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, the report explains that its estimates “are based on econometric models using tax data, government estimates for economic indicators and information from other research institutions.”

The modest growth is likely a result of two factors: first, the economy continued its slow and steady growth last year. Second – on the less positive side – there are public policy questions around tax reform that may have impacted the numbers. In response to the debate over the future of the federal charitable deduction, individual donors may have either bumped up their 2012 giving by “pre-paying” 2013 gifts to take advantage of the credit or may have not donated in case their deductions for larger gifts don’t carry over into future years. And, since individuals continue to supply three-quarters of the dollars given to charities, that’s a big deal. At $229 billion, individual Americans gave 11% less than the peak year of 2007, before the Great Recession.

Here’s a quick look at the basic stats from Giving USA:

  • $316 billion: total charitable giving by individuals, foundations and corporations, a 1.5 percent increase from 2011 in inflation-adjusted dollars.
  • $229 billion: giving by individuals, up 1.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.
  • $46 billion: giving by foundations, a 2.3 percent increase in inflation-adjusted dollars.
  • $18 billion: giving by corporations (foundations and giving programs), largest increase at 9.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Our annual report on the state of philanthropy in Ohio, which we publish each fall, uses IRS income return data, which have a two-year lag time. Our preliminary look at the data shows that giving in 2011 was pretty much the same as the year before, at $6.22 billion. We’ll provide a much deeper, fuller look into giving in Ohio when we publish our Ohio Gives report this fall.


Entry filed under: Commentaries, Ohio Issues, Philanthropy Ohio News.

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