US charitable giving hit record in 2021 but inflation looms

Charitable giving in the United States reached a record $485 billion in 2021, though the increase did not keep pace with inflation, according to a report Tuesday offering a comprehensive look at American philanthropy.

The Giving USA report says donations in 2021 were 4% higher than the record-setting $466 billion contributed in 2020. But they were down 0.7% when adjusted for inflation.

Many nonprofits are now feeling the strain because giving is not growing as fast as price increases, said Laura MacDonald, chair of the Giving USA Foundation. In response to the intense needs of the early COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the calls for racial justice, giving increased in unusual ways in 2020, but has generally returned to previous patterns.

"In 2021, many donors returned to their favored causes, with many of the sectors that struggled in 2020 making a recovery in 2021," MacDonald said in a statement.

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