Charitable giving has increased for the fifth straight year, hitting a 2014 tally of $358.38 billion, according to Giving USA Foundation.
That’s the largest amount in the 60 years the organization has been tracking charitable activity. The prior record was $355.17 billion in 2007, on the eve of the U.S. financial crisis and Great Recession.
Last year’s total is an increase of 7 percent from 2013, when charitable giving hit $339.94 billion.
“Individual giving is affected by available disposable income at the household level, wealth and growth in the S&P 500,” said W. Keith Curtis, chair of the foundation and president of the nonprofit consulting firm The Curtis Group. “All three increased last year as did the amount people spent in general – not just on charitable donations.”
Where are Americans most likely to donate their money? The report covers charitable donations based on nine categories: Religion, education, human services, health, arts and humanities, environment, public-society benefit, foundations and international affairs. Religious institutions raked in $114.9 billion, breaking a record.
“While circumstances vary from organization to organization, it appears that the nonprofit sector overall can at last focus on expanding giving rather than regaining lost ground,” said Amir Pasic, dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, in a statement.
USA Giving provides the following breakdown of giving:
- $258.51 billion from individuals, up 5.7 percent from 2013
- $53.97 billion from foundations, up 8.2 percent from 2013
- $28.13 billion from bequests, up 15.5 percent from 2013
- $17.77 billion from corporations, up 13.7 percent from 2013