The Giving USA 2021 report highlights record $471.44 billion to U.S. charities in 2020

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The Giving USA 2021: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2020, released this week, reveals good news on giving. In 2020, the reports shows that individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave an estimated $471.44 billion to U.S. charities in 2020.

Highlights of the full report include:

  • Giving by individuals totaled an estimated $324.10 billion, rising 2.2% in 2020 (an increase of 1.0%, adjusted for inflation). Giving by individuals achieved its highest total dollar amount to date, adjusted for inflation, but it comprised less than 70% of total giving for only the second time on record.
  • Giving by foundations increased 17.0%, to an estimated $88.55 billion (a growth rate of 15.6%, adjusted for inflation), reaching its highest-ever dollar amount. Giving by foundations, which has grown in nine of the last 10 years, represented 19% of total giving in 2020, its largest share on record. The estimate for giving by foundations was created by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy using data from Candid.
  • Giving by bequest was an estimated $41.19 billion in 2020, and grew 10.3% from 2019 (an increase of 9.0%, adjusted for inflation). Giving by bequest often fluctuates substantially from year to year.
  • Giving by corporations is estimated to have declined by 6.1% in 2020 to $16.88 billion (a decline of 7.3% adjusted for inflation). This type of giving is highly responsive to changes in corporate pre-tax profits and GDP, both of which declined in 2020.

Additionally, the report found that giving to education is estimated to have increased 9.0% to $71.34 billion.The report notes adjusted for inflation, giving to education organizations increased 7.7%. Education giving includes contributions to K-12 schools, higher education and libraries.  The report also notes a strong end-of-year stock market drove growth in giving to education. That growth was further boosted by COVID-19 relief, racial justice giving and MacKenzie Scott’s gifts to HBCUs, tribal colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions and community colleges.

Giving to human services also increased by an estimated 9.7% in 2020, totaling $65.14 billion. Adjusted for inflation, giving to human services organizations increased by 8.4%.

Noting the challenge of pivoting in fundraising, Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., executive associate dean for academic programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy said, “There also may have been a digital divide in 2020 between nonprofit organizations that were able to pivot their fundraising and services to online and those that were more severely limited by the effects of the pandemic.”

Giving to individuals is estimated to have grown 12.8% (11.5% in inflation-adjusted dollars) between 2019 and 2020, to $16.22 billion. The bulk of these donations are in-kind gifts of medications to patients in need, made through the patient assistance programs of pharmaceutical companies’ operating foundations.

Giving USA is Giving USA 2021: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2020, a publication of Giving USA Foundation, 2021, researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Available online at .

Headquartered in Chicago, the Foundation publishes data and trends about charitable giving through its seminal publication, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, and quarterly reports on topics related to philanthropy. Published since 1956, Giving USA is the longest running, most comprehensive report on philanthropy in America.

For the full release information go here .

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