The U.S. is on pace to give $1.4 trillion to charitable foundations this year, according to the nonprofit Giving USA, a group that tracks charitable giving around the world.
That’s up from $930 billion in 2016.
But the charitable giving is also down from the same time last year.
That could be because many of the foundations were shuttered in the wake of the Great Recession.
For the first time, the charity sector was left with a deficit.
And now, many of those foundations have been operating without a cash buffer.
The Giving USA report tracks how much money each charity gets from each state.
This year, the largest state is Washington, which gave away $6.2 billion to charitable organizations, including the University of Washington and the American Civil Liberties Union.
But it was a drop from last year, when the state was awarded $6 billion in charitable donations.
In contrast, Oregon was awarded almost $3 billion in grants and awards.
The state has also given away $1 billion in cash to its foundations.
That money is still in the state treasury, but is distributed to individual foundations, rather than to individual states.
That leaves Washington, Oregon, and the other big three states with a combined $3.6 billion cash buffer for their philanthropic giving.
“The money that is available in the federal treasury is only a fraction of what is actually needed to run these nonprofits, and so, it’s really important to remember that those charities will be able to operate without a financial buffer,” says Scott Litz, president and CEO of the Giving USA foundation.
“So, it is important that the states that are most dependent on federal funds be careful not to cut off their own cash flow or cut off funding to their own foundations, which is what we’re seeing in Washington.”
The Giving America report says the $3,637,000 allocated to state and local charitable giving this year will be matched by $1,081,000 for individual foundations.
So, the average state gets about $1 million from each donor.
That is a slight drop from the previous year.
But, states have had to put up more cash to offset the drop in donations.
For instance, Washington’s $1-million cash cushion was cut to $1 per donor.
“States are going to have to raise more money to cover the shortfall, and that is likely going to affect how much they’re able to distribute to individual charities,” says Litz.
For now, it looks like the Giving America is not going to be able help you find the best charity in your state.
But that is changing.
According to the Giving United Foundation, which tracks charitable donations around the globe, nearly 40% of the charitable money in the U.K. is donated to individual institutions.
The UK also has one of the most generous tax structures in the world, which means it has one less thing to worry about.