‘Phenomenal generosity’: GivingTuesday reports record-breaking donations

By: - December 3, 2021 4:46 pm

GivingTuesday reported record donations in 2021. (Photo by Scalinger/iStock Getty Images)

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and fears of a new variant, Americans gave a record amount to charity on this year’s GivingTuesday event.

GivingTuesday, a nonprofit that began the annual giving event in 2012, reported this week that Americans donated a record $2.7 billion this year. That’s a 9% increase in donations from GivingTuesday 2020.

Organizers estimated 35 million Americans participated in the 2021 event, either by donating or volunteering.

“This extraordinary show of generosity lit up the world against a backdrop of a dark two years,” said GivingTuesday CEO Asha Curran in a news release. 

Last year also saw a record-breaking number of people giving to charity, even at the height of the pandemic. GivingTuesday estimated that 34.8 million people participated in the 2020 event. In the U.S., total giving neared $2.5 billion.

The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines also saw growth in donations over the course of the pandemic, said Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Bonney. 

“What we saw locally was that, over the course of 2020 and into 2021, (there was) really phenomenal generosity from our community,” she said.

Bonney said figures for 2021 donations weren’t final, but the organization was able to create over $70 million in grants from donations in 2020.

“Based on everything we’ve seen, Iowa is an incredibly generous place to live,” she said. “Iowans step up and care for one another, and we certainly saw that hold true throughout 2020 and 2021.”

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.