* Giving USA report shows donations up 3.5 pct, still lag
* Corporate gifts up 12.2 pct, bequests down
* Environmental, arts giving benefited; religious giving
By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON, June 18 Individual charitable giving
in the United States grew almost 4 percent last year, while
corporate donations rose at triple that rate, according to a
report that shows donations by Americans to nonprofit groups
mirroring the slow recovery of the larger economy.
Overall, U.S. donations to bolster the arts, health,
religion and other activities totaled $316.2 billion in 2012, a
3.5 percent increase from the $305.5 billion donated in 2011,
according to the report, "Giving USA." That was just a 1.5
percent increase when adjusted for inflation.
The annual report is published by the Giving USA Foundation
and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Donations are still down about 8 percent from their 2007
peak of $344.5 billion. Giving levels fell sharply during the
"In 2012, Americans were feeling better - but not great,"
Gregg Carlson, chair of the foundation, wrote in the study. But
he said even the small increase in giving showed the "healing
continues, with the prognosis being good." Giving, as a general
rule, follows the economy and consumer confidence, he said.
Individuals in the United States donated $228.9 billion last
year, a 3.9 percent increase from $220.3 billion in 2011, the
widely followed study found. Individual giving typically makes
up almost three-quarters of all giving, and it may still be
constrained by widespread unemployment, underemployment and
worries about the economy, said Patrick Rooney, an associate
dean at Indiana University who worked on the report.
In contrast, companies and their foundations increased their
giving by 12.2 percent to nearly $18.2 billion in 2012, compared
with $16.2 billion the year before.
Giving by charitable foundations, up 4.4 percent, added
another $45.7 billion in 2012, and bequeathed gifts, which can
vary year-to-year based on estate closings, fell 7 percent to
$23.4 billion last year.
The study analyzed U.S. tax data from the Internal Revenue
Service, government economic indicators, and other research.
If charitable giving continues to grow at recent rates, it
will take about another six or seven years to return to
pre-recession levels, he said.
Other findings from the 2012 report include:
* Giving to groups for the arts, culture and humanities grew
significantly after earlier declines, rising 7.8 percent;
* Giving to organizations that focus on the environment and
animals rose 6.8 percent;
* Gifts to international causes tapered off in 2012 with a
modest increase of 2.5 percent after high growth rates in recent
* Donations to religious organizations, which still take in
the largest share of all U.S. giving, were nearly unchanged, and
* Donations to foundations, which vary based on the size of
gifts from wealthy U.S. donors, fell 4.6 percent to $30.58
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Linda Stern and Steve