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December Economic Snapshot: Charitable Giving in NYC

 |  NYCEDC

dec 2015

By Matt Gordon, Project Manager, Economic and Research Analysis 

‘Tis the season for fundraisers, galas, and giving!

Some surveys indicate that as much as 40% of all charitable donations occur in December. This month’s economic snapshot looks at the data on charitable donations to shed some light on the giving economy in NYC.

As the headquarters for many of the world’s largest foundations, New York State ranks first in the nation in total giving. New York based foundations gave almost $10 billion in grants in 2013 – 18% of the nation’s total and equal to the sum of 34 other states combined. In addition, five of the nation’s 20 largest foundations are based in New York City.

snapshot fig 1

Foundations, advocacy groups, and civic and social organizations play an important role in serving New York’s communities, but they are also an important economic driver for the city, employing more than 38,000 people. After a brief decline during the recession, grants from foundations are now at an all-time high, up 39% in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2010. 

New York City organizations are also pioneering new models of service delivery. B Corporations (or B Corps) are a category of for-profit companies recognized by New York and many other states that meet standards of social and environmental performance. New York City is home to 71 B Corps, including companies like Etsy, Kickstarter, and Warby Parker.

Who is giving in NYC?

It's not just foundations that gave; New Yorkers from all income levels gave substantial amounts of time and money according to the most recent statistics. New York metro area residents donated, on average, $1,669 in 2014, up 17% in inflation adjusted dollars from 2004. Those in the top 20% income bracket donated $3,966 or 2.3% of their income on average, while those in the bottom bracket donated 4.9% of their income .

Nationally, 5.75% of Americans volunteer on any given day, but that number rises to 8% in December. The BLS estimates that an hour of volunteering contributes $23.07 to the economy. Assuming that those who volunteer will do so for two hours, extra volunteering in December will contribute $8.73 million into the New York City economy .

What organizations benefit from this giving?

In New York, grants to Health and Education organizations lead the pack, with each sector receiving almost $700 million.

Health was also the fastest-growing subject area, with 133% growth since 2004, after adjusting for inflation. Religion, the environment, and arts and culture grew the least at 8%, 14%, and 23% over the same period respectively. In total, NY-based organizations received $3.1 billion worth of grants in 2012 .


For the full report on charitable giving in NYC, read the December 2015 Economic Snapshot .

For all other economic reports, visit our economic data archive on the Economic and Research Analysis page.

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