2014 was a breakout year for charitable giving in the United States. Strong economic performance shifted the economy out of recovery mode and into a period of normal economic growth. The overall drop in charitable donations brought on by the recession rebounded and reached unprecedented levels of giving. The success of the summer 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign (an increase of close to $100 million in donations) put charitable giving in fashion, likely causing a spillover to other charities, including Jewish giving.
According to some estimates, 2015 will likely have a sharp rise in capital project investments by Jewish institutions as many projects were put on hold during the recession.1 Indeed, many federations report an increase in contributions over the past year.
With regard to Jewish wealth in general, there does not seem to be any indication of a drop in relative or absolute wealth of the Jewish world. Jewish philanthropists continue to be among the world’s wealthiest people. Jewish wealth is extremely diversified across a variety of industries and sectors, protecting Jewish resources from financial volatility in any specific sector. Asset prices, including stock and premium real estate prices have grown significantly since 2009, benefiting the wealthiest sections of the U.S. population.2 The Jewish population, as one of wealthier groups in America, has benefited accordingly.