Religious giving rose 2 percent last year

$88 million to religious congregations

Donations to religious congregations in the U.S. rose by nearly 2 percent last year, to an estimated $88 billion, according to a new study.

The Giving USA Foundation annual report, released June 13, divides donations into ten categories, including the arts, international aid and education. The category called “religious organizations” outpaced them all in total giving, as it traditionally does.

“It reflects how important religion is to Americans,” said Richard Jolly, vice chair of Giving USA. Charitable contributions overall were at a record high last year, rising by 5 percent to an estimated $248.5 billion.

Most donations for the victims of the year’s biggest disaster, the December 26 Asian tsunami, will be included with figures for 2005. In 2004, tsunami relief represented less than half of 1 percent of all contributions.


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