US Private Philanthropy Giving Hits Record, $373B

Donations from America’s individuals, estates, foundations and corporations reached an estimated $373.25 billion last year, setting a record for the second year in a row, according to Giving USA.

That new peak in contributions is record-setting whether measured in current or inflation-adjusted dollars. Last year total giving grew 4.1% in current dollars (4.0% when adjusted for inflation) over the previous year. The revised inflation-adjusted estimate for total giving in 2014 was $359.04 billion, with current-dollar growth of 7.8%, and an inflation-adjusted increase of 6.1%.

Charitable contributions from all four sources went up, with those from individuals once again leading the way in terms of total dollar amount, at $264.58 billion. This follows the historical pattern seen over more than six decades.

Very large charitable donations—categorized as gifts of $100 million or more—have garnered an increasing amount of attention over the past 10 to 15 years. The very large contributions that were publicly announced totaled at least $3.3 billion.

Not only did individuals give the most; by upping their gifts 3.8% when measured in current dollars (and 3.7% when inflation-adjusted), they were responsible for two-thirds of the year’s overall increase in total giving.

The largest year-over-year percentage increase in contributions from sources however, came via grants made by the country’s independent, community and operating foundations, according to data provided by the Foundation Center. It went up 6.5% in current dollars, and 6.3% when adjusted for inflation. Over the past several years, foundations have seen strong asset growth, helping drive their ability to increase donations made in the form of grants


  • Individual giving, $264.58 billion, increased 3.8% in current dollars (and 3.7% when inflation-adjusted).
  • Foundation giving, $58.46 billion, was 6.5% higher (6.3% when inflation-adjusted).
  • Charitable bequests, $31.76 billion, increased 2.1% (1.9% when inflation-adjusted).
  • Corporate giving, $18.45 billion, increased 3.9% (3.8% when inflation-adjusted).
  • Giving to educational institutions remained strong; growth exceeded 5%.
  • The giving to religion slice of Giving USA’s recipient pie chart, which measures the percentage of donations made to nine charitable subsectors, has steadily shrunk for decades.
  • Education—giving increased to $57.48 billion, 8.9% more in current dollars.

Info: (report).

About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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