National Philanthropic Trust Comments on “Giving USA 2016: Annual Report on Philanthropy for 2015”

Americans Donated $373.25 Billion to Charities in 2015; 4% Increase from 2014; “Second Record-Setting Year Represents an Unprecedented Time in the Non-Profit Sector”

JENKINTOWN, Pa.--()--National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), the nation’s largest independent, national donor-advised fund administrator, has identified record-setting philanthropic trends in the just-released “Giving USA 2016: Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015.”

The 61st annual report—considered the country’s longest-running and most comprehensive report on giving—revealed Americans donated an estimated $373.25 billion to charitable causes in 2015, surpassing for the second year the inflation-adjusted pre-recession peak in 2007 of $355.17 billion.

“The four percent increase in giving reinforces the American spirit of philanthropy is alive and thriving,” said Eileen Heisman, CEO of National Philanthropic Trust, celebrating 20 years of grant making in 2016. “I am heartened by the trends I see happening in philanthropy, like Millennials’ commitment to the intersection of innovation and social good. Philanthropy is driven by individuals (72 percent in 2015) that support what means most to them every year. For example, international giving saw the largest sector growth in 2015 due to high-profile humanitarian disasters including the Nepal earthquake. Giving USA’s data confirms the continued six-year climb in philanthropy’s major sources of giving.”

Continued Heisman, “From the importance of social media in giving to the rise of donor-advised funds, there has never been more opportunity for donors to give in a way that’s both easy and impactful. This is the age of #GivingTuesday and crowdfunding; the rate of innovation in the nonprofit sector is unprecedented and exciting and reflected in the historic growth in this report.”

Giving USA’s 2016 report revealed:

  • Giving by living individuals rose an estimated 3.8 percent in 2015 to $264.58 billion in contributions, accounting for 72 percent of total donations
  • Giving by foundations increased 6.5 percent to $58.46 billion
  • Charitable bequest giving increased slowly at 2.1 percent to $31.76 billion
  • Corporate giving grew slowly at 3.9 percent to $18.45 billion

A closer look by Giving USA at the nine charitable categories detailed giving in 2015 to:

  • Religion - increased 2.7 percent to $119.30 billion
  • Education - increased 8.9 percent to $57.48 billion
  • Human Services - increased 4.2 percent to $45.21 billion
  • (To) Foundations - decreased 3.8 percent to $42.26 billion
  • Health - increased 1.3 percent to $29.81 billion
  • Public Society Benefit - increased 6.0 percent to $26.95 billion
  • Arts/Culture/Humanities - increased 7.0 percent to $17.07 billion
  • International Affairs - increased 17.5 percent to $15.75 billion (largest growth)
  • Environment/Animals – increased 6.2 percent to $10.68 billion, NPT’s free digital resource about global philanthropy, details historic events in modern charitable giving—from simple acts of kindness to the creation of some of the biggest grantmaking institutions in the world. Giving USA’s report provides even greater context for the entries that tell the story of giving around the world.

“As the philanthropy sector continues to grow in the U.S., the country’s 1.5 million charities must communicate a clear message about impact to successfully make a case for support, especially with Millennials,” said Heisman. “In order to thrive, I recommend they seek out new and innovative ways to deliver this message, like engaging with donors and prospective givers through evolving social media channels.”

To purchase a copy of “Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015” visit

About National Philanthropic Trust

NPT is the largest national, independent donor-advised fund charity in the U.S., raising more than $5.9 billion in liquid and illiquid asset charitable contributions since its founding in 1996. NPT ranks among the Top 25 largest grant making institutions in the U.S. and manages over $2.8 billion in charitable assets. It has made more than 136,000 grants exceeding $3.2 billion to charities, including grants to charities in 59 foreign countries. NPT annually publishes the Donor-Advised Fund Report, the industry’s most comprehensive resource. In 2016, NPT launched, the first digital exhibition of the last 500 years of global philanthropy. For more visit


For National Philanthropic Trust
Richard Virgilio, 973-879-9080


For National Philanthropic Trust
Richard Virgilio, 973-879-9080