A study said on Monday that charity donations for 2010 totaled $291 billion but were 6% less than 2007’s as the nation tries to pull through a recession. The Indiana University’s Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy said 2010’s total donation was 4% higher than 2009’s. The study’s revised estimates disclosed that in a financial crisis, donations were less than $10 billion in 2008 to $299.8 billion. It was down to $280.3 billion in 2009.
Philanthropy Center’s executive director Patrick Rooney said 2010 inflation-adjusted donations have increased by 2.1%. But he said the sobering reality is that many nonprofits are still hurting, and if giving continues to grow at that rate, it will take 5-6 more years just to return to the level of giving before the Great Recession. According to the study, assistance from about 75 million households, 1.5 million corporations, about 120,000 estates and 77,000 foundations goes to over 1.2 million registered charities and about 350,000 American religious flocks. Individual giving rose to $211.7 billion (2.7% up) while charitable donations at $22.8 billion were 19% higher. Corporate giving was up 10% at $15 billion, foundation giving meanwhile remained at $41 billion.
Giving USA Foundation’s chairwoman Edith Falk said that gains in giving suggest philanthropic growth may slow over the next several years and recession-like donor actions may continue. She said more corporations focus philanthropy on organizations and causes that closely align with their missions and values. Foundations have been reluctant to take on new programs or fund new organizations, she added. About 33% of donations are received by religious groups, 14% to education, 11% to foundations, 9% to human services, 8% for health and 8% for public society groups. Arts & culture groups together with international affairs with relief, development and public policy initiatives get 5%. Environmental and animal groups, and for individuals, each get 5% and a remaining 1% goes to an uncategorized sector.