Holiday jitters – Some contributions down

Some charities are finding it tough to raise money in the face of worries about the economy and Wall Street, and about the presidential election’s limbo, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 1.

Donations at many community trusts are down 10 percent to 20 percent, and contributions to the American Red Cross this fiscal year have plunged 60 percent.

The California Community Foundation, which gives money to local charities, says its contributions this fiscal year are down about 30 percent – excluding a $33 million gift from 1999 that makes the comparison look even worse.  

Some of the wealthier donors in the U.S. also are reluctant to give until they find out if the estate tax will be rolled back – a move promised by Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

Many charities raise nearly half the funds they raise each year during the holidays, and not all are feeling the pinch,

At United Jewish Communities, for example, Middle East events have helped fuel a 3 percent increase in fundraising to $820 million.

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, which lets donors give money without selecting a specific charity, reports 87 percent growth in donations to $773 million. Donors can enjoy immediate tax breaks and decide later which causes get the money.

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