In Rarity, Charitable Giving Declines in the US

On the other hand, 2022 was a tough year for many Americans' finances
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 25, 2023 5:30 AM CDT
In Rarity, Charitable Giving Declines in the US
A volunteer prepares a lunch box at Community Help in Park Slope, a soup kitchen and food pantry better known as CHiPS, in New York.   (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)

Charitable giving in the United States declined in 2022—only the third time in four decades that donations did not increase year over year—according to the newly released Giving USA report. Total giving fell 3.4% in 2022 to $499.3 billion in current dollars, a drop of 10.5% when adjusted for inflation, per the AP. The decline comes at a time when many nonprofits, especially ones providing services to those in need, report an increase in requests for help. According to the Giving USA report, 64% of donations in 2022 came from individual donors; 21% from foundations; 9% from bequests, generally through a will or estate plan; and 6% from corporations.

Josh Birkholz, chairman of the Giving USA Foundation, said the results are actually much better than they could have been considering the tough economic climate of late 2022. "I go back and forth on whether it's encouraging or discouraging," Birkholz told the AP in an interview. "There was a 20 to 25% decline in the stock market and an 8% inflation rate, but Americans still gave nearly a half trillion dollars."

Those 2022 donations came after two record-setting years for charitable giving, driven by the unprecedented needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Giving USA report's lead researcher. It's a sign of continued generosity, though there are some areas of concern. "At the beginning of the 21st century, two thirds of Americans gave," Osili said. "Today, that is down to under 50% for the first time. So giving has grown, but fewer people are participating."

(More charity stories.)

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