Charitable giving increased in 2019: study


Giving to U.S. charities in 2019 reached one of its highest levels on record, according to a report’s findings announced Tuesday that provide a look into the giving landscape prior to the coronavirus crisis.

Individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave an estimated $449.64 billion in 2019, an increase of 4.2 percent from 2018 as measured in current dollars and a gain of 2.4 percent after adjusting for inflation, according to the study, which is being published by the Giving USA Foundation and was researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Giving in 2019 reached its highest level on record as measured in current dollars and reached its second highest level, after 2017, when adjusted for inflation, the report found.

Rick Dunham, chairman of the Giving USA Foundation, said that the findings provide context for stakeholders as they look at how the nonprofit sector is impacted by the coronavirus.

“Giving increased substantially in 2019, ending the decade on a high note,” Dunham said in a news release. “While it’s too soon to tell what that will mean in the uncharted territory we all find ourselves in today, these estimates provide an important baseline for understanding where giving stood at the outset of the current crisis.”

A number of prominent charities have said they expect nonprofits to see a decline in donations due to the coronavirus-related economic downturn, noting that there was a drop in donations during the 2008 recession.

Giving from individuals, foundations and corporations increased in 2019, while giving by bequests was flat. Most types of nonprofits saw giving to them rise, according to the study.

The banner year for giving in 2019 comes after last year’s report from the Giving USA Foundation found that charitable giving by individuals fell in 2018 — the first year when many of the provisions in President Trump’s 2017 tax-cut law took effect. The law substantially increased the size of the standard deduction, reducing the number of people who claim the itemized deduction for charitable contributions.

A coronavirus relief law that Trump signed in late March created a charitable contribution deduction of up to $300 that taxpayers who don’t itemize their deductions can claim for 2020. Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are interested in further expanding tax incentives for charitable giving.

Tags charities Donald Trump economy
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