Charitable Giving At All-Time High

Charitable giving in the United States reached a record high, according to Giving USA, the major annual report that follows trends and actual philanthropic activities across the country. Nonprofits received $410.02 billion in 2017, a 5.2% increase in current dollars and a 3% increase in inflation-adjusted dollars over results reported for 2016.
An analysis of the million dollar and over gifts tracked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy indicates strong charitable activity by wealthy Jewish donors.  The largest Jewish gifts in 2017 seldom went to Jewish entities. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, led the list of all major donors with a $1.8 billion gift to their foundation and an additional $162.4 million to their Donor Advised Fund. Jewish “mega” donors included Michael and Susan Dell, David Geffen, and Henry and Susan Samueli, all of whom who made very large gifts to higher education, the arts, or their own foundations.
This is the fourth consecutive year of increased giving nationwide.
  • Tax law changes in late 2017 impacted some major year-end gifts, but they don’t appear to be major factors in decision-making by donors;
  • Most domestic sectors of the nonprofit community received increased financial support in 2017, but giving as a percentage of Gross National Product stayed at 2.1%. Giving has stayed at this level since 2002;
  • Giving to traditional domestic umbrella campaigns has continued to decline;
  • Giving to international causes or institutions has generally decreased.
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