NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Double-Digit Rise In Contributions Last Year

May 26, 1999

Americans increased their contributions to charities last year by 11 percent, making 1998 the third consecutive year of double- digit increases. The estimate comes from an arm of the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel.

Total contributions amounted to a record $175 billion.

  • Of that amount, contributions from individuals comprised $135 billion -- a 10 percent increase.
  • Bequests accounted for $13.6 billion -- an 8 percent increase.
  • Foundation giving rose 23 percent to $17 billion.
  • Corporations contributed $9 billion -- up 9 percent.

Donations to environmental and wildlife groups increased 28 percent to $5.3 billion. Human services organizations benefited by a 27 percent rise in donations, to $16.1 billion. Giving to health organizations rose 20 percent to $16.9 billion. Public benefit organizations -- such as civil rights, public affairs, consumer protection and scientific development groups -- saw their donations increase 30 percent to $10.9 billion.

The only area that experienced a decline in donations was arts, culture and the humanities -- where contributions fell almost 1 percent, to $10.5 billion.

Gifts to religious organizations amounted to $76.1 billion, up about 5 percent. While religion remained the leader in fund- raising, its share of all contributions has declined from about half during much of the 1970s and early 1980s to 44 percent last year.

Education received $28.6 billion in gifts, an increase of 11 percent.

Source: Karen W. Arenson, "Charity Giving in U.S. Rose 11 Percent in '98, Report Says," New York Times, May 26, 1999.


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