Heavy machinery removes March 11 tsunami debris covering rice fields at the Otomo area in Rikuzentakata city, Iwate prefecture on April 15, 2011. Debris is currently heading toward the U.S.'s Pacific shores across the ocean. - 

Between 2011 and 2012, giving to international aid went up by more than 2 percent.  Over $19 billion was donated to causes in this category in 2012.  Giving towards international aid usually fluctuates from year-to-year, depending on natural disasters and only major events.  

Compared to other categories, giving to international aid has seen some of the most positive growth in the past two years.  From 2010-2012, giving to international aid grew by over 12 percent. Large chunks of international aid donations went towards relief efforts for Typhoon Boffa in the Philippines and the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan and Southeast Asia in 2011.

One of the key components of international aid is private funding. Since 2008, private funding for international aid has risen while public funding has fallen. From 2006 to 2010, private funding contributions totaled $17.9 billion. That’s more than $3 billion a year. This made up 70 percent of donations during that time period.

How do you give?

As part of our special series on philanthropy and charitable giving in the United States we’re taking a look at a few things: Where did our strong history of philanthropy come from? What are the economic ramifications of how Americans give? 

As part of the reporting we’re looking back at the history of some of the biggest philanthropists in U.S. history. John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett.

In gauging how important those folks are we would also like to know how the average person gives.

 What inspires you to give money to your local charity? Do you see philanthropy as time spent on a cause or money spent supporting it? We want to know!

 We'll use your answers to support future reporting on how people give.

Click here to get started!


Follow John Ketchum at @ketchcast