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Total U.S. Giving Decreased in 2009

(June 9, 2010) The amount of money donated to charity by individuals, foundations and corporations decreased again in 2009, dropping 3.2 percent, according to the Giving USA Foundation. However, U.S. giving still totaled more than $300 billion.

Total U.S. giving in 2009 was $303.75 billion, down from a revised total of 315.08 billion in 2008. The overall economy saw slight price deflation in 2009, which makes the adjusted change in giving year-over-year a decline of 3.2 percent. This is not as steep of a drop as was recorded in 1974, when inflation-adjusted giving during that recessionary period fell 5.5 percent, according to Giving USA.

When adjusting for inflation, Individual giving remained flat in 2009 (0.0 percent change), totaling $227.41 billion. (Individual giving decreased 0.4 percent if you do not adjust for inflation.)

Foundation grantmaking by private, community and operating foundations fell by 8.6 percent to $38.44 billion, and corporate giving increased 5.9 percent to $14.1 billion. There was an increased number of in-kind donations by corporations in 2009, according to research cited by Giving USA.

Not All Subsectors Saw Declines

Human services, health, international aid, and environment/animals subsectors actually saw in increase in contributions in 2009. Religion, education and arts organizations, as well as foundations, saw a decrease in contributions.

NOTE: All percentages have been adjusted for inflation.

  • Human Services - 2.7 percent increase ($27.08 billion total in 2009)
  • Health - 4.2 percent increase ($22.46 billion total in 2009)
  • International Aid - 6.6 percent increase ($8.89 billion total in 2009)
  • Environment/Animals - 2.7 percent increase ($6.15 billion total in 2009)
  • Religion - 0.3 percent decrease ($100.95 billion total in 2009)
  • Education - 3.2 percent decrease ($40.01 billion total in 2009)
  • Arts - 2.0 percent decrease ($12.34 billion total in 2009)
  • Public-Society Benefit - 4.2 percent decrease ($22.77 billion total in 2009)
  • Foundations - 7.6 percent decrease ($31 billion total in 2009)

"I'm proud of the work of charitable fundraisers and the enormous generosity of donors that made it possible to again exceed $300 billion in contributions in 2009," said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. "And I am very optimistic about fundraising in 2010. According to the results of AFP's State of Fundraising Survey, more than 60 percent of fundraisers believe they will raise more money in 2010 than in 2009, a significant increase from last year, when just 28 percent estimated they would raise more money in 2009 than in 2008."

Giving USA is a publication of the Giving USA Foundation, researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. For a free executive summary of the Giving USA report, click here or go to

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