1/3 of U.S. giving goes to religious groups

Giving to charity has increased though it is still behind the level of giving before the recession according to a report in Reuters. More than 1/3 of giving is to religious groups:

U.S. donations to charity rose to $291 billion last year, a study found on Monday, but it was still more than 6 percent below a 2007 record as the nation struggles to recover from its worst recession in decades.

Americans gave nearly 4 percent more in 2010 compared to 2009, the Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University said, perking up after the recession sparked the biggest giving slump in four decades.
More than a third of donations go to religious groups, while education accounts for 14 percent, giving to foundations makes up 11 percent, human services receives 9 percent, health picks up 8 percent and public society groups 8 percent.

Arts and culture groups got 5 percent of the total, along with international affairs, which includes relief, development and public policy initiatives. Environmental and animal groups picked up 2 percent, and another 2 percent went to individuals, most often in the form of medications.

Comments (3)

Much of religious giving goes to charity through the outreach programs of various religious organizations. Art and culture are supported, also, through religious groups, and some support their own educational endeavors. The article does not appear to take that into consideration.

Celinda Scott

In some European countries, such as Great Britain, Germany, and Denmark, the state supports the church through taxation. In the US, we have separation of church and state. The only way for a religious group to build and maintain its physical plant and pay its clergy and other staff is through contributions from members.

Celinda Scott

I appreciate Celinda's points, though I'm curious as to what percentage (if it's included) tithed giving or voluntary personal apportionment of income makes up of these numbers.

Also, if my alma mater's any indication, educational institutions are pretty aggressive in their campaigning for donors, whereas my experience of religious groups is a little lighter, though parishes have stewardship Sunday/season.

It makes me wonder what the breakdown is between gifts to parishes and gifts to religious outreach organizations . . . how much did one family donate for the new wing? Etc.

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