Americans gave more money to charity than ever in 2014, according to the Giving USA Foundation. Contributions rose to a record $358.38 billion last year, surpassing a previous high of $355.17 billion in 2007, just before the financial crisis and the stock market collapse of 2008-2009.
The study from the Chicago-based nonprofit uses data from the Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of Economic Analysis among other sources, and looks at all donations—from individuals to corporations, to churches and museums.
In inflation-adjusted dollars, total giving rose 5.4% over 2013, according to the report. As a percentage of gross domestic product—widely considered a factor in how much donors give to charity—giving was 2.1%.
Last year was the fifth straight year of growth for the charitable sector. ... About half of individual giving comes from 4% of the population. ...
Organizations devoted to the arts, health, animals and the environment saw the greatest gains in donations last year, with only giving to international-affairs causes dropping. Experts attributed that decline to the lack of a large international disaster, like a typhoon or earthquake, which typically draws American givers.