The nation’s song economy continues to be good for charitable donations, with personal gifts rising $11.6 billion in 1999, according to figures released May 24.
The American Association of Fund-Raising Council Trust for Philanthropy released its annual report on charitable giving, and figures show that in the last year of the 20th century, individuals gave a total of $143.7 billion to charity, up 7.2 percent from 1998.
Total overall giving surpassed $190 billion in 1999, continuing an upward trend in the 1990s. The percentage of personal income given to charity has risen from 1.5 percent in 1995 to 1.8 percent in 1999.
Religious groups saw the most giving, representing about 43 percent of all contributions last year. Religious groups received $81.78 billion in 1999, up from $77.49 billion in 1998.
Giving to religious groups- which traditionally tops the list- was followed by giving to education. A total of $27.46 billion was given to education in 1999, up $2.14 billion from 1998. Giving to international affairs charities and the environment also rose 23.6 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
Americans donated $11 billion to the arts and $17.95 billion to healthcare organizations.
Within the context of the overall economy, the United States continues to earmark more money for charity. In 1995, philanthropy represented 1.7 percent of the gross domestic product; in 1999, the figure was 2.1 percent.
Corporations also joined in giving to charity. Corporate giving rose by 14.2 percent in 1999, to just over $11 billion. Giving by foundations also rose 16.5 percent to reach $19.8 billion.
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