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Charitable Donations Up in 1999

Updated:
NEW YORK (AP) — Charitable donations jumped $15.8 billion in 1999, marking the fourth straight year of growth, a philanthropy tracking group reported Wednesday.

Total giving surged from $174.3 billion in 1998 to $190.1 billion last year, representing a 9.1 percent increase, the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel said. When adjusted for inflation, the increase was 6.7 percent.

``It is likely that this is not merely a momentary windfall for the nonprofit sector, but rather, we might say it signals the beginning of a new age of philanthropy,'' said Russell Weigand, chair of the organization.

Individuals gave 7.2 percent more in 1999, bequests increased 14.6 percent, foundations jumped 16.5 percent and donations from corporations were up 14.3 percent, the counsel said.

Last year, philanthropy represented 2.1 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, a figure last reached in 1971. Personal giving represented 1.8 percent of personal income in 1999, the same percentage as 1989.

The report said the overall increases were due partly to the nation's economic boom. People have more money and so are more ready to give it away, and foundation endowments that are invested have been growing more rapidly.

The counsel also said that nonprofit organizations have become better stewards of philanthropic dollars and have become more responsive to the public's demand for accountability and information.

The counsel was founded in 1935 to advance professional and ethical standards in philanthropic fund-raising consulting and to promote philanthropy in general.

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On the Net:

American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel: http://www.aafrc.org
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