US Charitable Giving: Government vs Private

Charitable Giving as % GDP Mark Perry

Charitable Giving as % GDP
Take Note of Anglospheric Rankings
Mark Perry

US Government Global Humanitarian Assistance

In the fiscal year 2015, the US Agency for International Develepment (USAID) and the Department of State provided more than $6bn in life-saving humanitarian assistance.

Private US Charitable Giving

In 2014, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals at $258.51 billion, or 72% of total giving; followed by foundations ($53.97 billion/15%), bequests ($28.13 billion/8%), and corporations ($17.77 billion/5%). __

Top-Rated US Charities by Category

Groups included on the CharityWatch Top-Rated list generally spend 75% or more of their budgets on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, do not hold excessive assets in reserve, have met CharityWatch’s governance benchmarks, and receive “open-book” status for disclosure of basic financial information and documents to CharityWatch.

The top 100 US foundations have roughly $300 billion in assets and give just over $50 billion yearly.Here is a top 100 US foundation list by assets.

This is a top 100 US foundation list by giving.

Volunteering in the US — Stealth Charitable Giving

64.5 million adults volunteered 7.9 billion hours of service, worth an estimated value of $175 billion. __

So private US charitable giving comes to about $350 billion ind dollar donations, and about $175 billion in donated time by volunteers. From the US government, USAID and the State Department claim roughly $6 billion in life-saving humanitarian aide.

From its beginning as a nation, the US has always had a vibrant civil society, with abundant charitable giving and direct action by individuals, churches, and private secular societies.

If an economic pro-growth leadership is elected in the US in 2016, expect US charitable giving to skyrocket over the next few years. (One of many reasons for future US economic growth, if it is allowed to happen)

Meanwhile, the UN Never Has Enough

The evidence shows that, unfortunately, humanitarian need is increasing, fuelled in part by the consequences of conflict. The number of people affected by crises around the world has almost doubled over the past decade, and over 90% of people in extreme poverty are living in countries that are politically fragile, environmentally vulnerable or both. To meet these challenges head on, we have refocused half of DfID’s budget on supporting fragile and broken states and regions to tackle many of these issues at the source.


Of course, the UN is one of the most corrupt organisations in the world, and very little donated humanitarian aide actually makes it to the point of need. This is, of course, true for many large international charities, NGOs, and environmental groups.

Totalitarian Nations and Charitable Giving

Charitable giving in totalitarian and quasi-totalitarian nations such as China and Russia is considered a largely foreign and incomprehensible concept.

And yet, the Chinese know how to move their money around, with capital outflows recently at a yearly rate of 10% of GDP! But charity and philanthropy is a different story.

In Russia, the largest charity is lucky to take in $4 million in a year!

Russian actor Artur Smolyaninov shook his head in disappointment as he recounted a recent episode he witnessed at a supermarket: A woman murmured as she walked by a donation box for the Give a Life foundation: “Give a life… take a life… What a bunch of bull,” and went on her way. “She didn’t even make an effort to learn what the donations are for,” said Smolyaninov, who has been a volunteer and an honorary member of Give a Life’s Board of Trustees since 2006.

But that reaction is representative of the general public’s attitude towards charity. Even when people know what foundations do, they “don’t want to get involved in other people’s problems,” said Smolyaninov. “The ‘look the other way’ principle has long become a motto for many people. In the past, mothers used to put a hand over their kid’s eyes when a disabled person entered public transit.” __ Russia Beyond the Headlines

The higher ranking US charities take in well over $1 billion yearly.

The nations of the Anglosphere rank quite high in giving as a per cent of GDP. The habit began centuries ago as part of the religious tradition, then survived in more secular modern environments.

Unfortunately, humanitarian aide from Europe and the Anglosphere to Africa and the Muslim World is apt to backfire badly, as floods of low-aptitude / high violence immigrants overwhelm the best abilities of these philanthropic populations to support the large numbers that wish to swamp the west’s lifeboats.

If societies such as those in sub Saharan Africa lack the ability to sustain themselves without outside aide, it is quite stupid for outsiders to give them the wherewithal to continue to artificially propagate their numbers. No matter how well-intentioned, it can only turn out badly.

Badly led governments in Europe and the Anglosphere must be held accountable. There will be a reckoning.

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