American donated more than $390 billion to U.S. charities last year, an increase of 2.7 percent from 2015, according to Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which tracks such things.
The statistics were detailed in Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016 gathered by the school. Contributions from individuals, estates, foundations and corporations totaled an estimated $390.5 billion.
The school said Americans gave $379.89 billion in 2015. For only the sixth time in the past 40 years, giving to all nine major categories of recipient organizations increased.
The nine major categories, according to the school, includes giving to religion; education; human services; foundations; health; public-society benefit; arts, culture and humanities; international affairs; and environment and animals.
"This report tells us that Americans remained generous in 2016, despite it being a year punctuated by economic and political uncertainty," said Aggie Sweeney, chair of Giving USA Foundation and senior counsel at Campbell & Company. "We saw growth in every major sector, indicating the resilience of philanthropy and diverse motivations of donors."
The lofty charity numbers come as some worry that a proposal by President Donald Trump to double the standard deduction and cut the top tax rate to 35 from nearly 40 percent could reduce charitable giving by up to $13 billion yearly, CNBC reported last month.
"On the margins, we see charitable giving respond to tax incentives, even with giving to religious organizations," Patrick Rooney, associate dean for academic affairs and research at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, told CNBC.
The school said giving by individuals increased 3.9 percent, 2.6 percent when adjusted for inflation, to an estimated $281.86 billion in 2016.
"In 2016, we saw something of a democratization of philanthropy," Rooney said. "The strong growth in individual giving may be less attributable to the largest of the large gifts, which were not as robust as we have seen in some prior years, suggesting that more of that growth in 2016 may have come from giving by donors among the general population compared to recent years."
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