Americans Gave $390 Billion To Charity In 2016

June 16, 2017

The Giving USA Foundation reported that Americans gave $390 billion to charity in 2016 -- and giving by individuals was especially strong, at $282 billion.

Americans gave 390 billion in charity 2016
Credit: iStockphoto

"Americans remained generous in 2016, despite it being a year punctuated by economic and political uncertainty," said Aggie Sweeney, the chair of Giving USA Foundation. "We saw growth in every major sector, indicating the resilience of philanthropy and diverse motivations of donors."

While the wealthy account for a large share of giving, Giving USA said there were large numbers of smaller donations from less-wealthy donors.

"In 2016, we saw something of a democratization of philanthropy," said Patrick M. Rooney, associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which writes the report. "The strong growth in individual giving may be less attributable to the largest of the large gifts, which were not as robust as we have seen in some prior years, suggesting that more of that growth in 2016 may have come from giving by donors among the general population compared to recent years."

Giving to all major categories increased. Religion remains the largest recipient of charitable dollars, increasing 3 percent last year to $123 billion. Education ranked second, taking in $59.8 billion, up 3.6 percent; human services increased 4 percent to $46.8 billion, and giving to health rose 5.7 percent to $33.1 billion. Giving to arts and cultural organizations increased 6.4 percent to $18.2 billion, while giving to international affairs increased 4.6 percent to $22 billion. Giving to environmental and animal organizations increased 7 percent to $11 billion.

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