IMPACT

Rich Americans Are Giving Less, Thanks To Recession

11/10/2010 03:20 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rich Americans are tightening their belts -- at least when it comes to giving to charities. A study released Tuesday shows that charitable giving decreased by more than a third between 2007 and 2009 among the country's wealthiest, reports CNN.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University conducts the survey every two years, and this year's results were dismal. Though 98.2 percent of wealthy households gave back in 2009, the amount given decreased drastically from recent years. As the U.S. unemployment rate rose from 9.3 percent to 5.8 percent in one year, households have cut back for different reasons:

Asked why they stopped giving to organizations they had supported in the past, the top response by far was that the particular charity solicited money too frequently or asked for inappropriate amount.

Nearly 60% of those surveyed said that was why their donations dried up. More than a third said they decided to support other causes instead, and 29% said they stopped giving because their household circumstances changed.

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But all is not lost for nonprofits. Arts and culture organizations received 11.6 percent more donations in the two-year span, reports Philanthropy Today. And according to MSNBC:

Two-thirds of wealthy families continued to support the same charities in 2009, found the Study of High Net World Philanthropy, and more than 94 percent have confidence in nonprofit groups to solve the world's problems.

The New York Times reported this week that the richest 1 percent of Americans take home 24 percent of the country's income -- a reminder of just how necessary donations from the wealthy are to curb the United States' economic disparity.

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