New York– In 2015, charitable giving among Americans hit a record $373.3 billion with individuals donating over two-thirds of the amount, according to the annual report by the Giving USA Foundation.

Donations from foundations, corporations, estates and individuals rose four per cent last year, that was “record-setting whether measured in current or inflation-adjusted dollars,” the report says.

W. Keith Curtis
W. Keith Curtis

The figure was lower than the 6.1 per cent inflation-adjusted growth reported in 2014, but the unceasing climb indicates philanthropic giving especially by individuals is growing.

“It’s heartening that people really do want to make a difference, and they’re supporting the causes that matter to them,” said W. Keith Curtis, chairman of the Giving USA Foundation, adding that Americans are embracing philanthropy at a higher level than ever before.

According to the report, $264.6 billion came from individuals, 3.8 per cent more compared to 2014. Foundations donated $58.6 billion, up 6.5 percent. Corporate giving was $18.45 billion up 3.9 percent, with charitable bequests lifted 2.1 per cent to $31.76 billion.

The largest share of the donations – $119.3 billion went to religious organisations, with education and human services receiving $57.48 and $45.21 billion, according to the report.

The least was contributed to the environment and animals – $10.68 billion, as well as international affairs – $15.75 billion.

The only segment that suffered a decline last year was giving to foundations, which fell by four percent when inflation-adjusted, to $42.3 billion.

The data revealed in the report was researched by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.