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According to WRAL news a national organization that tracks the generosity of Americans reported that for the first time in seven years, charitable giving in the United States has passed pre-recession.  Americans gave about $358 billion to charity in 2014 which is around $47 billion more than they gave in 2007 (which was when the last record for charitable giving was reported).

The chairman of the Giving USA foundation said charities had not been expected to reach pre-recession levels for a few more years.  The Giving USA foundation reported on Tuesday that in 2014, giving increased from individuals, corporations, foundation and bequests. Total giving increased by 7.1 percent from 2013 to 2014.

This annual report is compiled using tax returns and other data collected by researchers in the Lily Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.  The improved status of the economy is what contributed to most of the increases in donations to America’s more than 1 million charities.

Giving to religious organizations still makes up the largest percentage of all U.S. donations with 32 percent in 2014.  However donations to religious causes have not grown as fast as other areas such as human services, education, the environment and the arts.

Its dominance in philanthropy has been dropping for the past 30 years.  For example, in 1987 charitable giving to religious organizations represented 53 percent of all donations.

The chairman of Giving USA says that the decrease is related to the national decrease in religious participation.  Even though people continue to give to social service agencies run by religious groups they don’t give to churches that they don’t attend.


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