Charitable Giving Hits Record Despite Slowing Growth

Mounting economic worries haven't stopped Americans from donating to charities. Charitable giving hit a record in 2007, topping $300 billion for the first time, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Giving to charities increased steadily in the past decade, though lately the pace of growth has slowed. The latest figures show an increase of only 3.9 percent over 2006, compared to spikes of roughly 10 percent and 13 percent in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Americans donated $306 billion last year, according to preliminary figures contained in the closely watched annual report from the nonprofit Giving USA Foundation. After adjusting for inflation, donations rose only 1 percent from the roughly $295 billion donated in 2006.

The relative slowdown in giving is attributable to increasing economic uncertainty in the second half of 2007. Economic woes intensified last summer amid high gasoline prices, real-estate market turmoil and a burgeoning credit crunch, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Less-robust giving could continue throughout 2008, as the economy has worsened.

Still, on an absolute basis, charitable giving set another record. Researchers cited a healthy stock market in the first half of 2007, measured economic growth and increases in corporate and personal income as factors that kept giving up.

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