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Charitable Giving Surges Again in 1999

Strong economy fuels American philanthropy

by Ann-Marie Imbornoni

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According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the nation's largest charities continue to benefit from the longest economic expansion in American history, raising 13% more from private sources in 1999 than they did in 1998. The surge in charitable giving reflects a three-year trend; a similar increase in giving was seen in 1998 and 1997.

The Top Charities

For the eighth year in a row, the Salvation Army grabbed the top spot, raising $1.4 billion - up 13% from 1998. The number two charity, the YMCA of the USA, took in $693.3 million, a 10% increase. The American Red Cross, in third position, pulled in 678.3 million, a 25% increase. The number four-ranked American Cancer Society raised $620 million for an increase of 11.5%.

Lutheran Services in America, number six on this year's list with $559 million in private support, jumped from number 42 last year due largely to the inclusion of more complete financial information from its member groups.

Education Wins Big

As a group, educational organizations, including colleges and universities, garnered the biggest share of private donations. Out of the 400 charities on the Chronicle's list, 142 were educational organizations, and such groups took in about one-third, or $12.7 billion, of the total raised.

Other popular charities included human services and youth services groups, international relief groups, health charities, and hospitals.


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For more than a billion Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a "month of blessing" marked by prayer, fasting, and charity.