Economy is slowing but donors still give

Associated Press

NEW YORK – The stock markets are erratic, and the economy is slowing. But America’s charities say donors generally are maintaining and even exceeding the pace of last year’s record-setting generosity.

“As of now, our responses are up to expectations,” said John Shima, development director for Catholic Charities of New York. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

Shima’s organization raised more than $18 million in the last fiscal year and is on track to equal or surpass that performance.

Other charities are faring significantly better than a year ago, ranging from the American Cancer Society and the Volunteers of America to the 54 nonprofit groups represented by the National Alliance for Choice in Giving.

“Our members are experiencing another year of steady growth, by and large – 10 to 20 percent growth,” said the alliance’s executive director, Matt Howe. The alliance promotes donations through payroll deductions to organizations focusing primarily on social justice and the environment.

Mary Rossick Kern, a Denver-area philanthropist, said she and other donors she knows are monitoring long-term economic trends. But “I haven’t heard anybody else doing anything drastic in terms of cutting back.”

Last year, according to the Trust for Philanthropy, charitable giving in the United States surpassed $190 billion for the first time. Contributions were up from individuals, corporations and foundations.

Eugene Tempel, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, said numerous charities nationwide are heading toward another record fund-raising year.

In his own area around Bloomington, Ind., Tempel said the Salvation Army’s donations are up 2 percent, while the local United Way set a record.

Many wealthy donors have been amassing investment gains over several years, Tempel said, and are likely to feel generous even if some holdings dip. He said the increased use of electronic stock transfers has benefited charities, making online donations quick and efficient.

Internet technology has helped Volunteers of America. The agency’s familiar sidewalk Santa Claus has opened an online operation, and spokesman Carl Ericson said overall donations are running 25 percent ahead of last year.

Some charities are lagging behind last year, but in one notable case there is an upbeat reason for the drop. The American Red Cross has collected only $11.3 million so far this year for its disaster-relief fund, compared with $56 million at this date last year.

Red Cross officials noted that the organization responded to three major catastrophes in 1999 – the Turkish earthquake, Hurricane Floyd and the Kosovo refugee crisis. This year, they said, there have been no comparable catastrophes and, for the first time in several years no hurricane hit the U.S. coast.

“We don’t want to give the impression that Red Cross doesn’t need your gifts this year,” said spokesmen Chris Paladino. “We’re responding to disasters every day – whether it’s a wildfire in the West or a house fire in Paterson, N.J. They just don’t make the front page.”

On the West Coast, some charities attribute a dip in donations to the shakeout in the high-tech and Internet sector.

“Some dotcom donors have taken some real hits, but they’re still being real generous,” said Jack Shakely, president of the California Community Foundation. “Most West Coast nonprofits are probably down 5 or 10 percent.”

He added: “We’ve had such enormous growth, and there’s no way the charities could sustain that growth. There has to be a little breather, and this might be that year.”

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commerical vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Cascade’s Mia Walker, right, cries and hugs teammate Allison Gehrig after beating Gig Harbor on Thursday, May 23, 2024 in Lacey, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seniors Wilson, Tripp power Cascade softball past Gig Harbor

The pair combined for three homers as the Bruins won the Class 3A state softball opening-round game.

The original Mountlake Terrace City Council, Patricia Neibel bottom right, with city attorney, sign incorporation ordinance in 1954. (Photo provided by the City of Mountlake Terrace)
Patricia Neibel, last inaugural MLT council member, dies at 97

The first woman on the council lived by the motto, “Why not me?” — on the council, at a sheriff’s office in Florida, or at a leper colony in Thailand.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.