Galvanized by the racial justice protests and the coronavirus pandemic, charitable giving in the United States reached a record $471 billion in 2020, according to a report released Tuesday that offers a comprehensive look at American philanthropy.

The Giving USA report says Americans gave more to charity last year than in 2019, despite an economic downturn that disrupted the paychecks of millions. Faced with greater needs, estates and foundations also opened up their pocketbooks at increased levels — resulting in a 5.1% spike in total giving from the $448 billion recorded for 2019, or a 3.8% jump when adjusted for inflation.

“In some ways, 2020 is a story of uneven impact and uneven recovery,” said Amir Pasic, the dean of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which researched and wrote the report published by the Giving USA Foundation.

“Many wealthier households were more insulated from the effects of COVID-19 and the ensuing economic shock, and they may have had greater capacity to give charitably than households and communities that were disproportionately affected and struggled financially,” Pasic said in a statement.

Although wealthy individuals contributed to the spike in giving to educational nonprofits and other charities, the findings for the report come from an analysis of IRS tax data for 128 million U.S. households, as well as other surveys. It’s the first study to provide a comprehensive look into how donors — big and small -- stepped up to meet the increased needs brought forth by the economic crisis, racial unrest and a global pandemic that has killed an estimated 600,000 Americans.

Experts say the strong year-end finish by the S&P 500, which closely tracks with giving from individuals and foundations, along with the uptick in personal income by the end of 2020 likely contributed to the spike.

Giving by individuals, which made up a majority of the donations last year, rose by approximately 2%. The biggest uptick came from foundations, who, in total, increased their giving by 17% for an estimated $88.5 billion in contributions. Those donations made up about 19% of the total share of contributions, the largest that has ever come from foundations.

Read the full article about giving in 2020 by Haleluya Hadero at Associated Press.