Americans set an all-time record last year. According to a new report from Giving USA, the American public—which includes private citizens, as well as private groups, foundations and corporations—donated $373.25 billion in 2015. Individual donations far-and-away were the biggest category, accounting for more than $264 billion. Giving USA says it was the country’s “most-generous year ever."

Out of all of the causes that received donations last year, religious-related causes and organizations led the way, receiving more than $119 billion.

As a whole, donations to charity were up more than 4 percent over 2014. In a statement, Giving USA Foundation Chair W. Keith Curtis said,

These findings embody more than numbers—they also are a symbol of the American spirit. It’s heartening that people really do want to make a difference, and they’re supporting the causes that matter to them. Americans are embracing philanthropy at a higher level than ever before.

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Religion makes people more generous. That’s the finding of a recent poll commissioned by BBC that asked more than 2,500 people questions about their religious beliefs and their giving habits. The poll numbers—which were collected by the research group ComRes—found that respondents across the U.K. who claimed to be practicing believers were more likely to have made a recent charitable donation than those who were not religious. Read More

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Panera restaurants in the St. Louis area will begin experimenting with new pay-what-you-want pricing for their Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl. But beyond just a marketing ploy, the Meal of Shared Responsibility is actually a way for the restaurant chain to encourage customers to help give to those in need.

Here’s how it works: Any amount above the suggested $5.89 price will go toward the meals of customers who couldn’t pay and to St. Louis-area hunger programs. The idea is that those in genuine need of a good meal (the chili contains about a day's worth of nutrition), can get a free bowl of chili, and other generous customers will help offset the cost … Discuss