Reprinted with permission of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Charitable giving increased by 3.2% in 2000, to an estimated $203.5 billion after adjusting for inflation, the lowest rate of increase in five years, according to a report released Wednesday.

Chart: Where the Money Goes

A look at charitable contributions in 2000, by type of recipient organization.
Giving to charities increased $6.3 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars to a record high, but giving grew at less than half the pace of 1999, according to Giving USA 2001, an annual survey on the state of philanthropy.

The report, published by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel, in Indianapolis, shows that giving slowed among all donors. But hardest hit was giving by individuals and bequests. Individual giving grew just 1.5%, after adjusting for inflation, to $152.1 billion, the slowest gain in five years and far below the 10.5% rise in 1998, when giving by individuals hit a 13-year high.

Bequests fell 0.7% to $16.0 billion, off sharply from the 12.1% gain in 1999.

Giving by foundations grew 15.7% to $24.5 billion, down from a 17.8% gain in 1999. Corporate giving rose by 8.4% to $10.9 billion, down from a 12.1% rise in 1999.

Giving to environmental and health charities and to organizations in a broad category that includes United Way and Jewish federations rose the most. Contributions to education, human-service, and arts organizations had the smallest gains. The largest share of gifts went to religious charities, but giving to religious groups increased only 0.9%, to $74.3 billion.

Melissa Brown, managing editor of Giving USA, said the slower pace of giving reflects the slowing in the national economy and a slide in stock prices during the last quarter of 2000.

The 2000 estimates are projections based on charitable contributions listed in federal tax returns and in surveys of charities.

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