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Charitable surge – Assets, revenue, grants on rise

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The nonprofit sector continues to be a growing force in the U.S. economy and is expected to have an increasingly influential voice as policymakers wrestle with tax changes aimed at increasing charitable activity.

Assets of charitable nonprofit groups in the U.S. grew 11 percent $1.4 trillion in 1997, while private foundations contributed $16.4 billion to charities, up 13.1 percent from the previous year, the Internal Revenue Service says.

Total revenue for the nearly 199,000 501(c)(3) groups that filed their 990 returns grew 7 percent to $754 billion, while total expenses rose 6 percent to $677.1 billion, the IRS says in the Fall 2000 edition of its Statistics of Income Bulletin.

Total revenue for the 55,000 private foundations that submitted tax forms totaled $55.5 billion on assets of $342.7 billion, compared to $50.8 billion in revenue a year earlier on assets of $288.6 billion.

“The large and fast-growing size of this sector suggests that its voice will be heard loud and clear in the coming debate” over proposals by President Bush such as estate-tax relief and new incentives for charitable giving, Joel B. Slemrod, director of the Office of Tax Policy Research in the School of Business Administration at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told The Wall Street Journal in a story published Feb. 7.

The IRS report on charitable groups excludes most groups with annual revenue of less than $25,000, and most churches and other religious groups.

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