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January 25, 2022

Charity donations picked up in 2011: report

If you’re like me, who’s tasked with scouring financial headlines and articles all day, you really have no idea what shape the economy is in.

Well, you see the news. You know. Every story contradicts; one step forward, two steps back, another ahead to bring things even.

So what I’ve found is, since the recession’s outset in 2008, it takes a story that makes layman’s sense to put the economy in perspective.

Like this one: if you want proof things repaired last year, consider that people gave more to charity in 2011 than they did in 2010.

According to a report by watchdog group Atlas of Giving, Americans gave a total of some $347 billion to charities last year, a 7.5 per cent increase over what they donated in 2010.

Americans donated $24.2 billion more in 2011 than they did in 2010.

*Bing: How to tell if a charity is a scam

The largest donations were given toward religious institutions (education and disaster relief groups were also big recipients), though why charitable giving increased is the real story here.

“2011 giving growth was fueled by strong stock market performance through July, low interest rates, an improving economy, modest inflation and aggressive solicitation,” Rob Mitchell, Atlas of Giving CEO, said.

“However, the increase was not enjoyed by all nonprofits. Organizations that rely on many small gifts from many small donors are still greatly impacted by the effects of continuing high unemployment.”

Ah, unemployment. Still high in the U.S., at 8.5 per cent last check, and currently about one percentage point lower in Canada.

Stubborn joblessness is probably why Atlas of Giving projects overall giving will grow but only modestly, at a clip of 3.9 per cent this year, in the U.S., but what about here?

There are no concrete numbers on charitable donations in Canada for the year 2011, but Governor-General David Johnston nonetheless suggests we pick up the pace in 2012.

That food bank reliance is Canada is still 26 per cent higher than it was even before the recession should be all the urging we need.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...