Charitable giving of money, time, or donated items is a time honored way of helping others. In 2006, the USA gave about $295 billion to charity ($223 billion by individuals), up 4.2 percent over 2005 levels. While charitable giving has generally risen faster than the growth of the American economy for more than half a century according to, it remains to be seen what effect the downturn in the economy will have on charitable donations.