U.S. Charitable Giving Nears Pre-Recession Peak

US charitable giving rose for a fourth consecutive year in 2013, nearing the record pre-recession levels of 2007, a study showed.

Donations from American individuals, corporations and foundations rose 4.4 percent to $335.17 billion, according to an annual survey, released Tuesday, by Giving USA Foundation and Indiana University’s school of philanthropy.

The 59th annual survey offers clues on the overall health of the US economy, the stock market and the level of optimism people are feeling.

The latest report “proves yet again that the call for support is answered generously by our citizenry,” said Gregg Carlson, chair of the Giving USA Foundation.

The survey found that giving by individuals — the largest segment — increased 4.2 percent to $240.60 billion.

But one major category, corporate gifts, declined by 1.9 percent to $17.88 billion.

The survey found religious organizations remained the largest category of recipients, accounting for $105.5 billion, followed by education ($52 billion).

Other categories include human services, gifts to foundations, health organizations, public society benefit groups, arts, environmental and animal organizations.

The peak for charitable contributions came in 2007, when donations totaled an estimated $349.50 billion.