Giving USA 2016: Major Findings

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Giving USA, the most comprehensive report on philanthropy in America has just released their 2016 annual report. Giving in America continues to grow and has reached record highs for the second year in a row with an estimated $373.25 billion in 2015. Estimates for religious giving indicate that religious giving continues to grow as well – up 2.7% this past year and accounting for $119.30 billion. As one of nine charitable subsectors measured by Giving USA religious giving continues to make up the largest percentage of the philanthropic pie again at 32% of the total.

Giving to religion marked its fifth consecutive year of growth in 2015. Small but steady growth, however, means that the religious giving sector continues to lose ground as a share of total giving. In contrast to religious giving’s 2.7% growth, total giving grew 4.1% this past year. Keeping in mind that Giving USA measures religious giving narrowly focusing on congregations, denominations, missionary bodies, and religious media, what do we make of these trends for faith-based nonprofits and religious congregations.

To see more of the major findings of the Giving USA report, click here.


David P. King is the Karen Lake Buttrey Director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving as well as Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies within the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He arrived at IUPUI in 2014 after serving as Assistant Professor of Christian History at Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis,TN. He earned his Ph.D. from Emory University with a specific interest in American religious history and its intersections with the growing field of world Christianity. His recent research focuses on the rise of evangelical relief and development NGOs, religious humanitarianism, and religion’s engagement with international affairs. He is passionate about research and teaching but as an ordained minister having served local churches and national faith-based organizations, he is also fueled by facilitating conversations with faith leaders, donors, and fundraisers (of all generations) around the intersections of faith and giving. Contact the lake institute at or on twitter @LakeInstitute.