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Giving USA 2022: Americans gave a record $484.85 billion to charity in 2021 thanks to a strong stock market and GDP

By June 21, 2022June 30th, 2022All Posts, Current Events/News, Giving USA

According to Giving USA 2022: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave an estimated $484.85 billion to U.S. charities in 2021. Thanks to a strong year for the stock market and GDP, 2021 giving nearly kept pace with inflation following 2020’s record giving year and outpouring of support for the nonprofit sector.

Giving USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive report of its kind in America identifies trends in charitable giving that are important to the nonprofit sector’s success and growth. Organizations can use the data from Giving USA to inform fundraising strategies and allocate resources for the greatest outcomes.

There were a number of key takeaways from Giving USA 2022 including:

  • Total charitable giving in 2021 grew 4.0% over the revised total of $466.23 billion contributed in 2020.
  • Giving to arts, culture and humanities is estimated to have increased 27.5% to $23.50 billion in a recovery year for the sector.
  • Several subsectors that experienced strong growth in 2020, such as education and human services, did not fare as well in 2021. However, two-year growth for these subsectors was over 5%, even when adjusting for inflation.
  • Giving by individuals came to 67% of total giving due in part to “mega-gifts” ($15 billion in 2021) from individual donors. These very large gifts represent about 5% of all individual giving in 2021, and played an important role in lifting individual giving.

An analysis of Giving USA 2022 took place on Thursday, June 23, at 10:00AM at the National WWI Museum as part of the 501 (c) Success National Speaker Series, sponsored by Byrne Pelofsky + Associates, Bank of America Private Bank and Nonprofit Connect. The program featured a report on Giving USA 2022 presented by Dr. Patrick Rooney, executive associate dean for academic programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

“2021 was a very interesting year for charitable giving,” says Jeffrey Byrne, Co-Founder and CEO of Byrne Pelofsky + Associates. “Giving USA 2022 shows that giving in 2021 is closely tied to the events of 2020 as Americans continued to give more generously than before the pandemic. Still, nonprofits faced many challenges and pressures not seen in decades. The fact that giving still grew for a majority of subsectors is a sign that the nonprofit sector is strong, resilient and innovative.”

The Numbers for 2021 Charitable Giving by Source:

Giving by individuals totaled an estimated $326.87 billion, rising 4.9% in 2021 (staying flat at 0.2%, adjusted for inflation).

Giving by foundations increased 3.4%, to an estimated $90.88 billion in 2021 (-1.2% adjusted for inflation).

Giving by bequest totaled an estimated $46.01 billion in 2021, a decline of 7.3% (-11.4% adjusted for inflation).

Giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 23.8% in 2021, totaling $21.08 billion (18.3% adjusted for inflation). Corporate giving includes cash and in-kind contributions made through corporate giving programs, as well as grants and gifts made by corporate foundations).

Highlights about Charitable Giving by Source:

  • Charitable giving grew from three of the four sources of giving in 2021.
  • Giving grew or stayed flat for eight of the nine major types of charitable organizations.
  • A strong GDP and a good year for corporate pre-tax profits account for the strong growth in giving.

The Numbers for 2021 Charitable Giving to Recipients:

Giving to religion grew by 5.4% with an estimated $135.78 billion in contributions (flat at 0.7% adjusted for inflation).


Giving to education is estimated to have declined 2.8% to $70.79 billion (-7.2% adjusted for inflation).


Giving to human services increased by an estimated 2.2% totaling $65.33 billion (-2.4%, adjusted for inflation


Giving to foundations is estimated to have increased by 9.3%, to $64.26 billion (4.4%, adjusted for inflation).


Giving to health organizations is estimated to have grown by 7.7% to $40.58 billion (2.9%, adjusted for inflation).


Giving to public-society benefit organizations increased an estimated 23.5% to $55.85 billion (17.9% adjusted for inflation). This category includes a wide range of charitable organizations, including national donor-advised funds, United Ways and civil rights organizations. 

Giving to arts, culture, and humanities is estimated to have increased 27.5% to $23.50 billion (21.8%, adjusted for inflation).


Giving to international affairs is estimated to be $27.44 billion, remaining flat at 0.0% growth (-4.5%, adjusted for inflation).


Giving to environment and animal organizations is estimated to have increased 11.0% to $16.32 billion. Adjusted for inflation, donations to the environment/animals subsector increased 6.1%.

Highlights about 2021 Giving to Charitable Organizations:

  • Giving to public-society benefit organizations has grown in 11 of the last 12 years and is one of the few sectors that grew in both 2020 and 2021.
  • Giving to individuals is estimated to have grown 1.8%, to $11.74 billion (-2.7%, adjusted for inflation). The bulk of these donations are in-kind gifts of medications to patients in need, made through the patient assistance programs of pharmaceutical companies’ operating foundations.

About Giving USA

For more than 65 years, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy has provided comprehensive charitable giving data for reliant donors, fundraisers, and nonprofit leaders. The research in this annual report estimates all giving to all charitable organizations across the United States. Giving USA is a public outreach initiative of Giving USA Foundation™ and is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The Giving USA Foundation, established in 1985 by what is now The Giving Institute, endeavors to advance philanthropy through research and education. Explore Giving USA products and resources at

About The Giving Institute

The Giving Institute, the parent organization of Giving USA Foundation™, consists of member organizations that have embraced and embodied the core values of ethics, excellence, and leadership in advancing philanthropy. Serving clients of every size and purpose, from local institutions to international organizations, The Giving Institute member organizations embrace the highest ethical standards and maintain a strict code of fair practices.

Byrne Pelofsky is a proud member of the Giving Institute. Our firm joined the Giving Institute in 2005, the first Kansas City-based firm to join.

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