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Indicator IV-7 Charitable Giving for Humanities Activities
NOTE TO READERS: Please include the following reference when citing data from this page: "American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Humanities Indicators,".
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Updated (9/16/2013).

Little information is available on charitable giving to the humanities. The Giving USA Foundation, a research organization that publishes information on charitable giving, and documents charitable support for an array of sectors—including “arts, culture, and humanities organizations.” Unfortunately, this category encompasses a range of activities (such as the performing arts) that are not within the scope of the Humanities Indicators. These data also exclude key humanities activities, such as humanities education (which is tallied in an undifferentiated “education” category). Nevertheless, data from their annual reports provide the best approximation of the extent of charitable giving for humanities-related projects.

Over the past three decades, the most striking feature of the trend is the marked growth in giving from the mid-1990s through the turn of the century (Figure IV-7). From 1993 to 2000, individual and corporate donations to arts and cultural organizations doubled, rising from $6.8 billion to $14.1 billion, and then experienced another burst up to $16.5 billion in 2007. Giving then fell 20.7% the following year (to $13.1 billion), as the recession sharply curtailed charitable giving. Giving levels have recovered slowly in the years since (rising to $14.4 billion in 2012).

Figure IV-7, Full Size
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While the absolute amount of giving for arts, cultural, and humanities activities increased dramatically over this time period, so did charitable giving overall. After rising dramatically from just 2.6% of all giving in 1985, gifts to arts, culture, and humanities organizations stabilized at around 4.5% of total giving in 1995 and have hovered around that mark in the years since.

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