Giving USA 2014 Report

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Contributions to Education Rise as Charitable Giving’s Post-Recession Recovery Continues, Giving USA 2014 Report Shows
Patrick Rooney, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Research, School of Philanthropy, Indiana University

Giving to education rose in 2013 as total U.S. charitable giving experienced its fourth consecutive year of growth, according to estimates released recently by Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Total charitable giving from U.S. individuals, corporations, foundations and bequests was an estimated $335.17 billion in 2013, Giving USA 2014: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2013 reports. This total approached the peak seen before the worst of the Great Recession, adjusted for inflation. Between 2012 and 2013, total estimated charitable giving in the U.S. increased by 4.4 percent (3 percent, adjusted for inflation). Giving USA, the seminal annual report on charitable giving in America, has charted national philanthropic trends for 59 consecutive years.

Giving by individuals accounted for 72 percent of total giving and rose 2.7 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2012 and 2013. Giving by foundations, which includes grants made by independent, community, and operating foundations, saw a 4.2 percent increase in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2012 and 2013 and comprised 15 percent of all gifts made in 2013.  Giving by bequest increased by 7.2 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2012 and 2013 and amounted to 8 percent of total giving in 2013. Giving by corporations comprised 5 percent of total giving in 2013 and declined by 3.2 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2012 and 2013.

Religious organizations received the largest share of charitable dollars in 2013—31 percent of the total—while education received the second-largest share at 16 percent. Giving to education, human services, health, public-society benefit organizations, and environmental and animal organizations increased from 2012 to 2013, while giving to religion was essentially flat and giving to foundations and international affairs decreased.

Contributions to education organizations rose 8.9 percent (7.4 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars) between 2012 and 2013 to $52.07 billion. The estimate for giving to the education subsector in 2013 includes two mega-gifts totaling $293 million given to U.S.-based universities. Compared with all other charitable subsectors, giving to education organizations has seen the most positive growth since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. Education giving grew 37.2 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2009 and 2013, compared with growth in overall giving of 12.3 percent over the same period.

According to the Council for Aid to Education (CAE) and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), donors gave more to both K-12 institutions and higher education institutions in 2013 compared with 2012. STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—has also become a focus for funders, with some foundations and corporations focusing almost exclusively on STEM.

CAE’s survey reveals that donors to education increasingly supported capital purposes over current operations at higher education institutions, and that alumni giving showed the strongest growth among all donor types to these institutions in 2013. Blackbaud reports that K-12 education organizations realized the greatest year-over-year monthly increases in charitable revenue in the spring and fall of 2013. Changes in charitable revenue for these organizations peaked in the three-month period ending in April, with growth of 21 percent, while the lowest point was in the three-month period ending in December, with a 0.2 percent decline.

The complete Giving USA 2014 report, with estimates covering 2013 giving, is available at