Donations on rise – Sluggish economy no drag

The slowing economy and erratic stock market are not causing slumps in giving to American charities, the Associated Press reported Dec. 7.

Many charities report donors are maintaining or exceeding the pace of last year’s record-setting generosity. In 1999, charitable giving in the United States topped $190 billion for the first time, according to the Trust for Philanthropy.

Organizations including the American Cancer Society, Volunteers of America and the National Alliance for Choice in Giving, which represents 54 nonprofit groups, report gains over last year. According to the alliance’s executive director, Matt Howe, donations to its members have grown 10 to 20 percent.

Falling stock values do not seem to be interfering too heavily with high-tech giving this year.

“Some dot-com donors have taken real hits, but are still being generous,” said Jack Shakely, president of the California Community Foundation. “Most West Coast nonprofits are probably down just 5 to 10 percent.”

Computer networking giant Cisco Systems Inc., whose stocks have dropped this year, plans to expand its corporate giving in 2001.

Employees at the company’s San Jose, Calif. Headquarters have increased donations to the food bank, Second Harvest from $1.3 million last year to $1.5 million this year.

According the Foundation Center, gifts from foundations are set to continue at a strong pace because most are generated from endowments that grew tremendously during the 90’s.

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