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'Tis the season for Giving

A sense of expectancy pervades the main offices for CARE, in Atlanta - a sense of good things to come.

Contributions are on the rise, up 14 percent over last year, says Marshall Burke, a CARE official.

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And he expects donations to continue at a solid clip through the Christmas-New Year holidays, enabling CARE to fund its relief and development work abroad. CARE works in places such as Central America, where hurricane Mitch left a trail of devastation. In addition to such relief efforts, says Mr. Burke, CARE operates development programs in 63 countries.

But it's a continually developing economy in the US that has again brought a boost in the bucks headed for charitable organizations such as CARE.

In Manhattan, collections at the Salvation Army's Christmas kettles "are up around 10 percent over last year," says spokesman Craig Evans.

Buoyed by a stock-market rebound, plentiful jobs, a strong economy, and low inflation, Americans have opened their wallets a little wider for charitable endeavors.

Last year, total giving - from individuals, foundations and corporations - rose 7.5 percent to $143.5 billion, says Ann Kaplan of Giving USA, a New York-based report on philanthropy. The bulk of it, more than $109 billion, came from private individuals, followed by foundations, corporations, and philanthropies.

"We expect 1998 to once again be up, as giving has been in all recent years. But the increase will probably come at a slightly lower rate," because of the turmoil in global financial markets earlier this year, she says.

This year turned a bright light on charitable giving, in part because of well-publicized gifts from the super rich, Ms. Kaplan says. Financier George Soros gave millions russia, and cable-TV magnate Ted Turner gave $1 billion to the United Nations.

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International events have also thrown a spotlight on giving. Such events include the death of Diana, Princess of Wales - prominent in her support for charities - and Mother Theresa plus the Nobel Peace Prize award to an anti-land mine group.

Almost half of charitable contributions go to religious denominations or church groups, and the percentage there is down slightly, says Kaplan, in part because of the "vastly appreciated" stock contributions now flowing to universities and philanthropic groups.

"A lot of the explanation for increased giving has to do with disposable income," says Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP). So long as families have solid take-home pay, giving should increase, he says.

Ironically, while Americans are giving more to charities, they give less to charities that help poor Americans.

Donations to human-service organizations - including homeless shelters, youth development, vocational training, domestic disaster relief, hunger, senior, and women's programs - are off almost 12 percent since 1993, the only major category to show a decline, says Mr. Borochoff.

His organization is one of the three main national rating services that measure financial accountability of charities. (See chart, below)

While the groups differ slightly in detail, they agree that charities that put more of their money to work in actual programs, instead of administrative costs or fund-raising campaigns, merit higher ratings.

Groups with low ratings in the past will sometimes boost scores by using more funds on actual programming. Case in point: The American Indian College Fund received a C minus last year. Donations often went for promotional purposes rather than actual schooling. Now, the fund has shifted more assets to educational programs and shifted its rating to a B plus, says Borochoff.

* For more information, check out:

'Holiday Giving' guide. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Council of Better Business Bureaus, 4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22203 (www.bbbonline.com/reports/charity.html)

'Charity rating Guide,' send $3 to AIP, 4905 Del ray Ave., Suite 300, Bethesda, MD 20814

'Wise Giving Guide': NCIB, Dept. 128, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003 (www.give.org)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy also maintains an informative Web site: www.philanthropy.com

The bulk of 1997 contributions, more than $109 billion, came from private individuals.

RANK NAME, HEADQUARTERS, YEAR FOUNDED PHONE

1 The National Council of YMCAs, Chicago, 1851 800-872-9622

2 Salvation Army, Alexandria, Va., 1865 703-684-5500

3 Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, Va., 1910 703-549-1390

4 American red Cross, Washington, D.C., 1881 202-737-8300

5 Shriners Hospitals for Children, Tampa, Fla., 1922 800-241-4438

6 Goodwill Industries International, Bethesda, Md., 1902 301-530-6500

7 Boy Scouts of America, Irving, Texas, 1910 972-580-2000

8 YWCA of the USA, New York, 1906 212-273-7800

9 Girl Scouts of the USA, New York, 1912 800-223-0624

10 American Cancer Society Inc., Atlanta, 1913 404-320-3333

11 Planned Parenthood Federation of America, New York, 1922 212-541-7800

12 Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Atlanta, 1906 404-815-5700

13 Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, Boston, 1991 800-544-8888

14 National Easter Seal Society, Chicago, 1919 312-726-6200

15 Volunteers of America, Alexandria, Va. 1896 703-548-2288

16 Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Va., 1951 703-841-5300

17 Second Harvest National Food Bank Network, Chicago, 1979 312-263-2303

18 American Heart Association, Dallas, 1924 214-373-6300

19 Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1846 202-357-1300

20 CARE, Atlanta, 1945 404-681-2552

21 Habitat for Humanity International, Americus, Ga., 1976 912-924-6935

22 World Vision, Federal Way, Wash., 1950 253-815-1000

23 ALSAC/St. Jude's Children's research Hospital, Memphis, 1957 800-877-5833

24 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1870 212-879-5500

25 United Jewish Appeal Inc., New York, 1938 212-284-6500

26 Gifts in Kind America, Alexandria, Va., 1984 703-836-2121

27 Campus Crusade for Christ, Orlando, 1951 407-826-2000

28 City of Hope, Los Angeles, 1913 213-626-4611

29 Catholic relief Services, Baltimore, 1943 800-235-2772

30 Metropolitan Opera Association, New York, 1883 212-799-3100

31 March of Dimes, White Plains, N.Y., 1938 914-428-7100

32 National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C,. 1937 202-737-4215

33 Larry Jones Intl. Ministries/Feed the Children, Oklahoma City, 1979405-942-0228

34 Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1893 312-443-3600

35 AmeriCAREs Foundation, New Canaan, Conn., 1982 800-486-4357

36 American Lung Association, New York, 1904 212-315-8700

37 Map International Inc., Brunswick, Ga., 1954 912-265-6010

38 American Museum of Natural History, New York, 1869 212-769-5100

39 National Benevolent Association, Christian Church, St. Louis, 1887 314-993-9000

40 Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, 1974 215-728-6900

41 Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1929 212-708-9400

42 Special Olympics International, Washington, D.C., 1968 202-628-3630

43 Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, Philadelphia, 1945 215-567-7000

44 Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Va., 1928 757-229-1000

45 Save the Children, Westport, Conn., 1932 800-243-5075

46 Rotary Foundation of rotary International, Evanston, Ill., 1917 847-866-3000

47 Disabled American Veterans, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1920 606-441-7300

48 The Christian & Missionary Alliance, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1887 719-599-5999

49 J.F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C., 1971 202-737-4215

50 Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, N.Y., 1895 718-220-5100

RANK CATEGORY TOTAL PUBLIC SUPPORT

INCOME IN MILLIONS (1997)

IN MILLIONS (1997)

1 Human services $2,859.9 $493.9

2 Human services 2,500.0 1,150.0

3 Human services 2,218.9 370.2

4 Human services 1,933.8 473.8

5 Health 1,393.7 222.8

6 Human services 1,360.0 179.2

7 Human services 648.6 247.5

8 Human services 636.2 152.4

9 Human services 605.3 111.1

10 Health 540.5 488.5

11 Human services 530.9 143.4

12 Human services 529.8 281.0

13 In-kind gifts 519.2 456.2

14 Health 483.9 123.2

15 Human Services 429.6 43.8

16 Conservation 421.4 235.1

17 In-kind gifts 402.5 400.6

18 Health 398.7 301.5

19 Civic/cultural 380.7 52.1

20 Relief/Development 362.5 95.3

21 Relief/Development 357.5 224.1

22 Relief/Development 348.4 279.6

23 Health 335.7 180.5

24 Civic/cultural 328.8 93.6

25 Human services 323.1 323.0

26 In-kind gifts 292.7 289.6

27 religious 266.6 236.2

28 Health 249.3 57.3

29 Relief/Development 218.6 68.5

30 Civic/cultural 183.0 69.0

31 Health 167.2 153.8

32 Civic/cultural 164.6 22.9

33 In-kind gifts 163.9 162.0

34 Civic/cultural 161.1 22.3

35 In-kind gifts 157.2 156.7

36 Health 156.3 90.3

37 In-kind gifts 148.0 145.6

38 Civic/cultural 147.4 54.4

39 Human services 146.6 17.2

40 Health 143.3 19.0

41 Civic/Cultural 139.9 74.2

42 Human services 139.5 105.1

43 Human services 137.3 120.5

44 Civic/cultural 136.1 22.4

45 Relief/development 131.3 52.8

46 Human services 128.7 69.8

47 Human services 127.1 94.1

48 Religious 126.0 43.4

49 Civic/Cultural 125.2 23.5

50 Conservation 121.6 27.0

RANK PERCENT OF SALARY &

TOTAL REVENUE BENEFITS

OF HIGHEST PAID OFFICIAL

DEVOTED

TO PROGRAMS

1 78.8% $284,140

2 N/A 79,899

3 88.6 85,090

4 88.5 265,957

5 24.4 308,310

6 82.9 233,659

7 71.2 479,473

8 76.6 186,434

9 75.3 379,792

10 56.9 333,668

11 77.0 235,700

12 78.7 235,289

13 37.5 261,894

14 76.0 326,900

15 81.9 190,000

16 43.0 196,210

17 99.6 151,177

18 66.9 378,389

19 71.5 327,784

20 87.4 426,185

21 72.5 74,256

22 76.0 198,085

23 47.5 461,406

24 54.2 298,430

25 91.6 352,892

26 104.7 167,317

27 79.3 50,310

28 81.5 643,782

29 90.6 180,125

30 79.0 552,000

31 72.2 270,977

32 51.0 N/A

33 91.3 102,628

34 55.7 328,148

35 96.8 200,397

36 68.9 262,245

37 77.1 98,387

38 45.3 398,040

39 79.0 140,662

40 74.3 405,874

41 43.3 245,693

42 63.7 207,019

43 72.6 126,664

44 64.4 319,391

45 77.9 219,854

46 55.1 181,630

47 43.3 196,732

48 74.6 83,652

49 68.7 1,080,000

50 57.2 303,700

RANK AIP PAS NCIB

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