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Health-care giving falters

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Charitable giving to nonprofit health-care institutions is ailing, with U.S.-based giving up an anemic 2.6 percent in 2008 and Canadian giving off by 12.9 percent, a new study says.

Americans donated $8.6 billion for health care in 2008, up slightly from $8.3 billion in 2007, but only about half the growth rate seen from 2006 to 2007, says the
report from the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

Total U.S. pledges for 2008 fell 6.2 percent in 2008 and planned gifts secured were down almost 13 percent.

Eight in 10 U.S. donations came from individuals, totaling 60 percent of all dollars, while one in 10 donations came from corporations and their affiliated foundations, making up 17.5 percent of donations.

Foundations represented less than 3 percent of donors, but their donations accounted for almost 14 percent of revenues.

Giving for Canadian health care totaled $1.07 billion in 2008, down from $1.3 billion in 2007.

In Canada, about 52 percent of donations came from individuals, down about 10 percent from 2007, the report says, while corporate funders contributed about a quarter of donations and foundation represented 6.3 percent of the total donated.

The top funding priority for U.S. donors in 2008 was construction or renovation of facilities, while Canadians favored supporting the purchase of medical equipment.

In both the U.S. and Canada, a fifth of all donors were patients.

“The hit that wealthy individuals have taken in the total worth of their portfolios and holdings during the recession takes huge assets off the table and out of the giving equation,” William C. McGinly, president of the association, says in a statement.

“While technically the recession is or will soon be over,” he says, the association’s membership “feels its impact will continue to impair giving to health-care
institutions for the near future.”

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