Charitable Giving Hit A Record High In 2017


Charitable giving in 2017 added up to over $400 billion for the first time. The “giving” from individuals, estates, foundations and corporations is more than the GDP of many nations, like Ireland to name one.

Adjusted for inflation, the total giving was up 5.2 percent (in current dollars) from prior years. It was estimated to be $389.64 billion in 2016.

Giving soared in light of the nine charitable sectors… the only lower figure came in the international affairs category. The strongest increase turned out to be in foundations… up 15.5 percent.

A large part of the new numbers came from major philanthropies in gifts to others. Headliners were from Michael (and wife Susan) Dell of $1 billion from their Dell Technologies and $2 billion from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Pricilla Chan from their Facebook holdings.

Interestingly, in 2017, individual giving represented 2 percent of disposable income. In 2000, that number was 2.4 percent. That seems to point to the fact that the top of the socio-economic food chain is giving more money, but the everyman and everywoman is giving less on average.

We like the idea of philanthropic giving, and that means that we should all be doing our part. If you got it, why not share part of the largesse?

Hopefully, the giving will climb higher in 2018.