Americans Rose to the Challenges of 2020

Giving USA 2021 Reports Charitable Giving Reached Record High

As we begin 2022, it’s the perfect time to take a look back over the past year or so and reflect on how our country responded to the needs of those impacted by adversity.

History shows that during challenging times or in response to natural disasters, Americans step up their philanthropy. Even in the wake of 9/11 and the Great Recession, individuals continued to give. Giving USA’s latest report shows that 2020 was no exception.

During 2020, we faced a global health pandemic, an economic downturn and a nationwide reflection on racial inequality and social injustices. Confronted by adversity, we’ve seen time and again that the world unites and helps those most impacted. Charitable giving can be viewed as a representation of unity and togetherness.

Charitable giving reached a record $471.44 billion in 2020, an increase of 5.1% over charitable giving in 2019. Individuals continue to be the backbone of charitable giving. They gave $324.10 billion, representing 69% of all charitable giving.

Another significant statistic is how much not-for-profit organizations received through charitable bequests. The infographic below shows that over $41 billion was given via bequests, an increase of 10.3% over the prior year. This number fluctuates considerably from year to year due to the vast differences in estate values.

Why is this statistic important? Because giving through a charitable bequest is one of the simplest ways to support a cause or your favorite nonprofit. With one simple sentence in your will, you can help to sure that your philanthropic wishes are carried out. Plus, you have the added flexibility to change your will in the event that life circumstances change.

If you would like to discuss how you can support St. Luke’s and its mission to serve the health care needs of our community through a charitable bequest, please contact Gail A. Evans, MBA, CFRE at 484-526-2640 or

2020 Giving Stats

*Excerpts taken from:

  1. Giving USA 2021—Giving USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive report on the sources and uses of charitable giving in America, is published by Giving USA Foundation, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute. It is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. (Giving statistics for 2021 will be released in July of 2022.)
  2. “Giving USA 2021: Inside the numbers” by Lynn Gaumer, Stelter Senior Gift Planning Consultant, The Stelter Company.