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Jun 9, 2010 8:50 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

2009 charitable giving falls in US

Even though a new report says charitable giving fell by 3.6 percent last year, some philanthropic experts are breathing a sigh of relief. They feared the decline would be much worse as Americans continued to struggle with the recession.

The Giving USA Foundation says Americans donated almost $304 billion during 2009, the second worst year since the annual survey began in 1956. The worst year was 1974, when giving fell an inflation-adjusted 5.5 percent.

Donations were up for human services, health, international affairs and environment and animal-related groups. But donations to education, arts, culture and humanities organizations fell overall.

The survey says individual giving increased at the very end of the year, when the stock market rose and media highlighted charities' needs.

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