US charitable giving hit record in 2021 but inflation looms

Jun 20, 2022, 6:16 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2022, 10:18 am
FILE - A man walks past a portion of the archive wall at the Bob Dylan Center, Thursday, May 5, 202...

FILE - A man walks past a portion of the archive wall at the Bob Dylan Center, Thursday, May 5, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. Charitable giving in the United States reached a record $485 billion in 2021, though the increase did not keep pace with inflation. That's according to a report released Tuesday that offers a comprehensive look at American philanthropy. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Charitable giving in the United States reached a record $485 billion in 2021, though the increase did not keep pace with inflation, according to a report Tuesday offering a comprehensive look at American philanthropy.

The Giving USA report says donations in 2021 were 4% higher than the record-setting $466 billion contributed in 2020. But they were down 0.7% when adjusted for inflation.

Many nonprofits are now feeling the strain because giving is not growing as fast as price increases, said Laura MacDonald, chair of the Giving USA Foundation. In response to the intense needs of the early COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the calls for racial justice, giving increased in unusual ways in 2020, but has generally returned to previous patterns.

“In 2021, many donors returned to their favored causes, with many of the sectors that struggled in 2020 making a recovery in 2021,” MacDonald said in a statement.

The proportion of giving by individuals totaled less than 70% of overall giving for the fourth year in a row in 2021 and the report found that giving from individuals was essentially flat in 2021 when accounting for inflation, up 4.9% to $327 billion. That’s still not near the peak of 2017 when individuals donated about $335 billion when adjusted for inflation. Experts say those totals contradict proponents of the Tax Cuts and Job Acts, which passed in 2017, who claimed the legislation would increase giving.

“Everyday households are not participating in charitable giving to the extent that they did a decade or two ago,” MacDonald said in an interview. “And that’s concerning. That’s troubling.”

She noted some large donors have transitioned to giving through donor-advised funds, a type of charitable investment account, or family foundations and those donations would be counted in other categories.

Giving to arts and culture groups, which suffered during the pandemic, climbed 27.5% in 2021 to more than $23.5 billion. Conversely, giving to education declined 2.8% to $71 billion. It had spiked in 2020 in part because of donations related to vaccines which went to university affiliated hospitals and research.

“The environment for giving is evolving in multiple ways,” said Amir Pasic,dean of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which researched and wrote the report published by the Giving USA Foundation. “Robust economic growth translated to strong performance by institutional forms of philanthropy such as foundations and corporations.”

Corporate giving also raised questions. Though it increased 23.8% to $21 billion in 2021, that was during a banner year for corporate profits, which were up 37% before taxes. The report says corporate giving still represents less than 1% of corporate pre-tax profits.

However, the report finds that donations are generally strong. Giving grew or stayed flat in eight of the nine major philanthropic sectors, with only education declining.

“The growth that we see for the majority of the subsectors in 2021 is a reminder of the resilience and innovation that help to drive the philanthropic sector,” said Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Giving to what the report categorizes as public benefit organizations, including civil rights and voting groups as well as donor advised funds, jumped 23.5% in 2021 from the previous year.

“Many of those organizations like the civil rights groups gained a lot of visibility and momentum during 2020 following the killing of George Floyd, and many of the new events that happened in 2021, like the Stop Asian Hate Movement, those also garnered a lot of support,” Osili said.

The report draws on multiple data sets, including tax information, but does not capture person to person giving through crowdfunding campaigns or mutual aid groups, though it does reflect crowdsourced gifts to nonprofits. Previous research by the Lilly Family School found that person to person giving is not yet replacing donations to charitable organizations, Osili said, but rather is in addition to those gifts.

____

Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and non-profits receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

DC police: 2 die when truck hits bicyclist, fireworks stand

WASHINGTON (AP) — A truck hit a bicyclist and careened into a fireworks stand Saturday evening at an intersection in northeast Washington, killing the bicyclist and a man working in the stand, police said. No other injuries were reported. The accident at the corner of Minnesota Avenue and Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE occurred about […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Ricky Martin poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Elvis' at the...
Associated Press

Ricky Martin faces restraining order in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A judge has issued a restraining order against Puerto Rican superstar Ricky Martin, police said Saturday. The order was signed Friday, and authorities visited an upscale neighborhood in the north coastal town of Dorado where the singer lives to try to serve the order, police spokesman Axel Valencia told […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Argentina's Economy Minister Martin Guzman walks outside of the International Monetary Fund,...
Associated Press

Argentine economy minister resigns amid peso, diesel woes

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina’s economy minister resigned unexpectedly Saturday, dealing a fresh blow to the government of President Alberto Ferández as the country struggles with economic problems. Martín Guzmán stepped down after a week in which Argentina’s currency hit an all-time low against the dollar amid sizzling inflation and truck drivers staged protests […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Taylor Swift appears at a premiere for her short film "All Too Well: The Short Film” in Ne...
Associated Press

Man found at Taylor Swift properties faces stalking charges

NEW YORK (AP) — A 35-year-old New York man is facing trespassing and stalking charges after authorities said he entered two New York City residences linked to the famed singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Police say the suspect, who was arrested Friday, entered one of the residential buildings, located in the city’s Tribeca neighborhood, on March 26. […]
19 hours ago
People wave the old and the current national flags as they attend a protest in front of the governm...
Associated Press

Macedonians protest French proposals over rift with Bulgaria

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Tens of thousands massed outside government offices late Saturday to protest a French proposal for solving North Macedonia’s dispute with Bulgaria that is blocking the country’s membership talks with the European Union. North Macedonia’s government has said the proposal is a “solid base.” But the main opposition center-right VMRO-DPMNE party […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Flamethrower used to torch Pan-African flag flying on pole

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A person using a flamethrower set fire Saturday to a Pan-African flag flying on a pole outside the headquarters of the Uhuru Movement, a Black international socialist group based in Florida. Security video released by the group shows the driver of a white Honda sedan pulling up outside the group’s […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
US charitable giving hit record in 2021 but inflation looms