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Giving in the United States (Including by Bequest): You’re in Good Company

Posted August 2019

Findings from Giving USA 2019:

  • Giving by charitable bequest in 2018: $39.7 Billion
  • Total giving in 2018 from all sources: $417.7 Billion

The bequest is the most popular type of planned gift, and you may be considering a charitable bequest to us and your other favorite charities. If so, you are in good company: according to the recently released Giving USA 2019, Americans gave almost $40 billion in bequests during 2018.

Many people think of bequests as huge gifts from very wealthy people; and the report from the Giving USA Foundation does highlight the largest bequests given each year, including these in 2018:

  • $100 million from David and Rita Nelson to the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, based in Appleton, Wisconsin.
  • $60 million from Bruce Leven of Mercer Island, Washington, to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
  • $37.1 million from Raymond Suckling of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, to the Pittsburgh Foundation.

But much of bequest giving is from smaller estates, and, of course, we welcome charitable bequests of any amount.

Many donors today choose to make a percentage bequest or a bequest of the estate remainder rather than a fixed amount. In such cases, the amount of the charitable gift can fluctuate, protecting the bequests for your loved ones and other beneficiaries.

The Giving USA report found that many bequest givers have a personal connection with the charities they choose and that those who make bequests are “more likely to also give a gift to the organization while living.”

If you have planned a bequest to us or are considering doing so, we would love to hear from you!

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