Did you give as much money to charity last year compared to the start of the pandemic in 2020, when the needs perhaps seemed more urgent?  If you did, you were in tune with how Americans overall supported charities of all kinds in 2021. All told, giving to food pantries, museums and every other kind of cause totaled $485 billion, nearly matching 2020 levels after adjusting for the inflation that began to spiral upward in 2021.

Summing up the findings of the latest Giving USA report they helped produce, IUPUI philanthropy researchers Anna Pruitt and Jon Bergdoll note that other factors have historically played a bigger role than inflation in determining how much money flows to charities, including economic growth and stock market performance. But "with inflation running at a much faster clip in 2022 than 2021," they add, "we’re keeping an eye on any effects it may have on giving until rates subside."

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Emily Schwartz Greco

Philanthropy + Nonprofits Editor

Charitable donations fund a wide array of nonprofits, such as Habitat for Humanity. John Wolfsohn/Getty Image

Americans gave a near-record $485 billion to charity in 2021, despite surging inflation rates

Anna Pruitt, IUPUI; Jon Bergdoll, IUPUI

Some of the largest donations made in 2021 went to donor-advised funds, financial accounts known as DAFs.

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