Giving Compass' Take:

• The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy's 2020 Giving USA report reveals that robust economic growth in 2019 corresponded to an increase in charitable giving. 

• As coronavirus hurts the economy and creates a greater need for philanthropy, how can donors rise to the occasion? 

• Find out why you should increase your giving during the pandemic

American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave an estimated $449.64 billion to U.S. charities in 2019, placing it among the highest years ever for charitable giving, according to findings in Giving USA 2020: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2019.

Total charitable giving rose 4.2% measured in current dollars (2.4% adjusted for inflation) over the revised total of $431.43 billion contributed in 2018. Measured in current dollars, giving in 2019 reached the highest dollar total to date. Adjusted for inflation, total giving reached the second highest level on record, just slightly below the all-time high dollar amount achieved in 2017.

The overall U.S. economy was relatively strong in 2019, lifted by the robust performance of many of the economic factors that affect giving, such as a 28.9% increase in the S&P 500 and 4.1% growth in the GDP, both in current dollars. Giving by individuals and giving by corporations were buoyed by the growth in the stock market. Giving by foundations also grew, but at a slightly lower rate.

Highlights and Numbers for 2019 Charitable Giving by Source:

Giving by individuals totaled an estimated $309.66 billion, rising 4.7% in 2019 (an increase of 2.8%, adjusted for inflation). Giving by individuals achieved the second-highest total dollar amount on record, adjusted for inflation, and was less than 70% of total giving for only the second time ever.

Giving by foundations increased 2.5%, to an estimated $75.69 billion in 2019 (a flat growth rate of 0.7%, adjusted for inflation), reaching its highest-ever dollar amount. Giving by foundations has grown in nine of the last 10 years, and represented 17% of total giving for the second year in a row, the largest share on record. Data on giving by foundations are provided by Candid.

Giving by bequest was an estimated $43.21 billion in 2019, and was essentially flat with a growth rate of 0.2% from 2018 (a decline of 1.6%, adjusted for inflation). Giving by bequest often fluctuates substantially from year to year.

Giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 13.4% in 2019, totaling $21.09 billion (an increase of 11.4%, adjusted for inflation). This significant growth is indicative of this type of giving, which is highly responsive to changes in corporate pre-tax profits and GDP, and its year-over-year trend lines tend to be more turbulent as a result.

Read the full article about charitable giving in 2019 at Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.