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Three-quarters of household giving goes to faith-based organizations

Three-quarters of household giving goes to faith-based organizations

Almost three-quarters of U. S. household giving goes to organizations with religious ties, according to a new report by Jumpstart and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.


“Donations to religious congregations—primarily for religious activity or spiritual development—represent about two fifths of household giving nationally,” says a release about the report Connected to Give. “In addition, there are many nonprofit organizations pursuing other purposes, such as basic needs, health care, or international aid, but which also have religious identities. Another third of household giving goes to these religiously identified nonprofits; examples include Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, World Vision, or Jewish federations.”

What does the report tell us, if anything, about the capacity of churches and other faith groups to ameliorate social ills? Religious organizations receive the great majority of American’s charitable giving, but if 40 percent of that money goes to congregations, which have their own programming and maintenance to worry about, how much is left?

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Bill Ghrist

"...but if 40 percent of that money goes to congregations, which have their own programming and maintenance to worry about, how much is left?"

I'm not sure how meaningful this question is. I think it quite probable that those who are most active in and supportive of their congregations also give the most to other religiously identified nonprofits. Without congregational commitment as a base there might well be less not more giving to "other faith groups to ameliorate social ills."

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