Wednesday, August 04, 2010

US philanthropy suffers only a 3.6% drop inspite of worst financial crisis since the Great Depression

The GivingUSA report for the calendar year 2009 shows that, in spite of this being the worst year since the Great Depression, with unemployment at massive levels and discretionary spending at a low, America's giving to philanthropic causes declined only 3.6% (or 3.2% when adjusted for inflation.

And this is not the steepest drop in giving, in real terms: in 1974, for example, giving fell by 5.5 percent.

It is absolutely astonishing that Americans gave away more than $300 billion during such a tough year.

This is the first decline in giving (in current dollars) since 1987, and only the second since Giving USA began publishing annual reports in 1956.

In other words, as American prosper, they give away more and more, and when they stop prospering, they still continue to give as much as they can. In 1974, giving
averaged $1,323 per household (including non-donors) which was 1.8% of GDP whereas, in 2009, it averaged $1,940 per household (including non-donors) or 2.1% of GDP.

It is fascinating that 75% of the giving is by individuals, whereas only 4% is by companies, while 13% is by foundations, and 8% is from bequests.

Even more fascinating: while corporate giving rose 5.5 percent, charitable bequests fell 23.9 percent in 2009 and foundation grantmaking fell by 8.9 percent. However, individual giving fell only 0.4 percent.

Well, you can argue against America all you like (and some of its government's policies have been and are horrible and immoral).

But you can't argue against the fact that America produces the most generous people in the world. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Joanna said...

On the contrary I do not believe the facts do suggest that America produces the most generous people in the world. Wikipedia has a list of countries and their giving and the only one that the US comes out top on is in absolute numbers and since they have such a high population then that is not surprising, once you break those figures down into giving per person they do not look so generous.

Since much of aid coming from Western nations is tied to economic benefits to the donor nation, such as having to purchase goods or personnel from the donor countries then it does not even look like a good deal at all.