As millions of Christians head to their local churches for Ash Wednesday, a report from Giving USA Foundation shows that donations made to religious organizations have slowed of late.
Americans gave religious organizations $101.54 billion in 2012, down just 0.2 percent from 2011—but that's a 2.2 percent decline when adjusted for inflation, the report showed. Still, religious organizations—mostly houses of worship—receive the largest share of total U.S. donations, claiming 32 percent of charitable dollars.
Education came in second on the report, with $41.33 billion in donations received.
(Read more: Ellen's viral selfie leads to $3 million donation)
While one year of challenging growth might not indicate much, the report estimates that religious organizations saw donations grow by 4.1 percent between 2010 and 2012. That's was the lowest two-year rate of change for any of the subsectors the group tracks.
Education, for instance, showed a 10.7 percent growth rate for the same period, and giving to international affairs tracked a 12.1 percent hike.
—Elisabeth Butler Cordova