Projections show rise in charitable giving

Americans will increase their gifts to charity by more than 4 percent both this year and in 2017, according to The Philanthropy Outlook, a new report researched and written by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

That’s potential good news for nonprofits across Jackson County, including the Community Foundation of Jackson County and our community partners.

Charitable giving is expected to grow by 4.1 percent this year and by an additional 4.3 percent next year.

The increased giving and earnings could mean more in grant dollars from the foundation that could be awarded to area agencies such as Boys & Girls Club of Seymour, Child Care Network, Girls Inc. of Jackson County, Community Provisions and many others.

The increase could mean more in scholarship dollars for the 38 scholarship funds administered by the foundation.

And the increase could mean more grant dollars to aid nonprofits and their programs through the foundation’s fall grant cycle, classroom education grants and community impact grants.

This past year, those programs funded grants to Crothersville Historical and Cultural Arts Association, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and many others.

Among The Philanthropy Outlook’s findings:

Increased contributions will come from individuals and households, estates, corporations and foundations.

Individual and household giving is predicted to increase by 3.7 percent this year and by 3.8 percent next year. It includes giving by both households that itemize charitable deductions on tax returns and those that do not.

Foundation giving across the nation is projected to rise by 7.5 percent in 2016 and by 6.4 percent in 2017.

Giving by estates is predicted to increase by 4.8 percent this year and by 4.9 percent in 2017.

Corporate giving is expected to grow by 4.6 percent this year and by 4.7 percent next year. The foundation benefits from strong support given by area businesses and corporations doing business here. This support can be seen with grants awarded through funds such as the SIHO Insurance Services Community Endowment, the Aisin USA Mfg. Inc. Endowment, the State Bank of Medora Scholarship Fund and the Jackson County Bank Administrative Endowment Fund.

Both this year and in 2017, total giving is expected to rise above historical 10-year and 25-year average rates of growth, although total giving in both years will be slightly below the 40-year average growth rate of 4.4 percent, the report states.

Factors expected to influence total giving this year and next include above average growth in the S&P 500, average growth in personal income and slightly above average growth in household and nonprofit net worth.

Current projections for giving by individuals and households for this year and next are above the historical 10-year and 25-year average rates of growth for giving of this type. Individual/household giving for this year is expected to rise at the same level as the 40-year average rate of growth, while giving in 2017 will be slightly higher than the 40-year average

The current projections for giving by foundations for the years 2016 and 2017 are above the historical 10-year average rate of growth for giving of this type, but below the 25-year and 40-year average rates of growth.

Foundations tend to give when other donor groups are scaling back or when nonprofits demonstrate greater need or demand. Thus, slightly above-average predicted growth in the net worth of households and nonprofits in preceding years is expected to have a modulating effect on foundation giving in 2016 and 2017. This being said, foundation giving for these years show stronger growth than any other donor type.

This year, the foundation is expected to award more than $345,000 in grants, an increase from overall grant-making in 2015.

Our board made the decision to increase the amount of grant dollars available this year based on two primary factors — an expectation from our donors to help meet needs in the community, particularly in lean years, and as a reaction to our donors stepping up during the successful GIFT VI matching program that has brought more than $1 million in newly endowed gifts to the Foundation.

Planned giving through estates is an important part of a foundation’s work. Such giving is starting to mature with the foundation as we, too, mature. We’ll mark our 25th anniversary of accepting gifts and awarding grants in 2017.

As an example, the foundation and one of our community partners — the Boys & Girls Club of Seymour — benefited from a generous bequest last year upon the death of Tom Voss of Seymour. Tom left a $50,000 gift to The F. Walter Voss and Tom G. Voss Boys & Girls Club of Seymour Fund. Earnings from that and earlier gifts to the fund will provide income to the agency in perpetuity.

Current projections for giving by estates for this year and next are above the historical 10-year, 25-year, and 40-year average rates of growth for giving of this type. The growth rates for 2016 and 2017 are more than double the 10-year average.

Projections for giving by corporations are higher than the 10-year and 25-year historical averages for giving of this type, but lower than the 40-year average growth rate. An increase in corporate savings will drive part of that increase.

Again, all of this holds good news for agencies that rely on the generosity of others to help people in need all across the country and here in Jackson County. We hope nonprofits here at home are already seeing those changes. Giving to the Community Foundation increased in 2015, and the Jackson County United Way during its 2015 annual campaign surpassed its goal amid increased giving from the previous year.

If you would like to discuss how you might support any of the many funds and grants administered by the foundation, or how to start your own fund, call me at 812-523-4483 or stop by our office. There are many ways to make a gift that can help others forever through endowed funds.

We’d love to talk with you about your goals.

Dan Davis is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour, IN 47274. For information about donating to the foundation, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to The foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1992 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Jackson County forever. The foundation may also be found on Facebook at