Americans donated a record $373 billion to charity in 2015

Clinton Foundation: we'd welcome a Charity Navigator rating
Clinton Foundation: we'd welcome a Charity Navigator rating

Americans have set a new record for charitable giving.

U.S. individuals, estates, foundations and companies donated $373.3 billion in 2015, according to the annual report Giving USA.

That's 4% more than the previous record of $359 billion set in 2014.

Individual donors were, by far, the biggest source of charitable contributions, according to the report published by The Giving Institute and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Individual giving increased nearly 4% to $264.6 billion last year.

Meanwhile, donations from foundations jumped 6.5% to $58.5 billion and charitable bequests rose 2% to $31.8 billion. Corporate giving totaled $18.5 billion, an increase of 4%.

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What's driving the generosity? The report pointed to two factors: economic recovery and stabilizing household finances.

The report said that religious organizations received more donations than any other group, taking in nearly $120 billion last year. Charities that promote education ranked second, with donations rising 9% to $57.5 billion.

Donations to international organizations also surged after two years of declines, rising 17.5% to $15.8 billion. The report said the improvement was due to "more strategic fund raising methods and increased focus on international issues among foundations."

The report noted that charity accounts for about 2% of U.S. gross domestic product.

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