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Report: Charitable giving by Americans on the rise

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Americans gave an estimated $316.2 billion to charity last year, continuing a string of small philanthropic gains that reflect the country’s slow economic recovery, a new study says.

Giving by individuals, corporations and foundations was up 3.5 percent from 2011, or 1.5 percent after adjusting for inflation, according to research conducted at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy on behalf of the Giving USA Foundation.

Released Tuesday, the annual Giving USA report is good news for the not-for-profit sector, which saw donations drop by 15 percent during the recession. At its peak, annual charitable giving surpassed $344 billion.

Giving USA has reported gains for three straight years.

“We have started to see a sustained recovery as it relates to giving,” said Una Osili, director of research at the IU philanthropy school. “The modest growth is actually quite encouraging.”

Even so, she said it could take another six or seven years to make up the lost ground at the current rate of growth.

The new report is the 58th edition of Giving USA, a public-service initiative of Chicago-based The Giving Institute.

Uncertainty over the future of the federal tax deduction for charitable gifts likely affected donations during 2012, institute board chairman David H. King said in a prepared statement. Some donors may have “prepaid” gifts to make sure they got the deduction, he said, while others may have opted against large gifts payable over several years.

But the state of the economy wields the most influence, given its connection to donors’ financial security.

Take corporate giving, which was up 9.9 percent last year after adjusting for inflation to an estimated $18.2 billion. It’s probably no coincidence that corporate pretax profits increased more than 16 percent during 2012, Usili said.

Individuals gave $228.9 billion in 2012, the new report found, up 1.9 percent after inflation adjustments. Foundations gave $45.7 billion, up 2.3 percent.

After accounting for inflation, researchers also estimated:

— Giving to arts, culture and humanities causes—hit hard during the recession—totaled $14.44 billion in 2012, a 5.7-percent increase.

— Giving to environmental and animal organizations totaled $8.3 billion, up 4.7 percent.

—Giving to education was $41.44 billion, up 4.9 percent.

— Giving to human services totaled $40.40 billion, up 1.8 percent.

— Giving to health organizations was $28.1 billion, up 2.8 percent.

— Giving to religion was $101.5 billion, a 2.2-percent drop. Even so, religious organizations received 32 percent of all U.S. giving in 2012, the report said.

 

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  1. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

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  4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

  5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.

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