Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 18 May |
Saint of the Day: St. John I
home iconNews
line break icon

Individual charitable giving was down in 2018

OFFERS

Pascal Deloche / Godong

John Burger - published on 06/19/19 - updated on 06/19/19

Study suggest change in tax code, rise of "nones" and abuse scandals impacted donor choices

Did a Republican-sponsored effort to reduce Americans’ tax burden have a negative effect on charitable giving?

Charitable giving by individual Americans in 2018 suffered its biggest drop since the Great Recession of 2008-09, according to an annual report on charity. Part of the reason, says the Giving USA report, was Republican-backed changes in tax policy.

The report, released Tuesday, said individual giving fell by 1.1%, from $295 billion in 2017 to $292 billion last year, the Associated Press reported. It ended a four-year streak of increases, and was the largest decline since a 6.1% drop in 2009.

The drop in individual charitable giving in 2018 came in spite of a relatively strong economy. But a new federal tax policy that doubled the standard deduction likely led to many American households opting for that rather than itemizing deductions on their federal returns.

“Whenever there’s a major tax policy change like that, it has an effect.” said Rick Dunham, chair of Giving USA Foundation, which publishes the annual report. It is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

More specifically, church giving is also down, due in part to the clergy sex-abuse scandals. AP says:

Giving to religion—perennially the biggest sector—is estimated to have declined by 1.5% in 2018 (a decrease of 3.9% adjusted for inflation), with a total of $124.52 billion in contributions. Una Osili, an associate dean at the Lilly philanthropy school, said giving to religious institutions has been lagging behind other sectors for several years. Reasons including declining attendance at church services and a rising number of Americans not affiliated with any particular religion. For the largest U.S. denomination — the Roman Catholic Church — a long-running clergy sex-abuse crisis also has taken a financial toll. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, about one-fourth of U.S. Catholics have decreased donations to the church because of the scandals.

Donations to foundations, to education, and to public-society benefit organizations—groups that work on issues like voter education, civil rights, civil liberties and consumer rights—also were down. Meanwhile, donation to nonprofits involved in international affairs and environmental or animal-welfare issues were up.

Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, suggested that the tax law changes would have relatively less impact on charities that rely on wealthy donors, and greater impact on social-service providers and other charities that get broad support from middle-class Americans.

“Charities who depend on them are really worried,” she said.

Tags:
Charity
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SAINT MATTHIAS
Philip Kosloski
Why Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle
2
ascension AND ASSUMPTION
Philip Kosloski
Ascension vs. assumption: What is the difference?
3
ascension of Jesus
Philip Kosloski
Was Mary present at the ascension of Jesus?
4
BENOIT JOSEPH LABRE
Larry Peterson
Benedict XVI called him “one of the most unusual saintsR...
5
KNEELING
Philip Kosloski
How to pray the Divine Praises
6
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
7
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.