U.S. News

Charitable giving set to rebound in 2010: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Charitable giving by Americans fell about 5 percent last year to $217.3 billion, but is forecast to rebound by up to 4.5 percent in 2010, according to a new report released on Thursday.

The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College said in its report that individual giving this year is expected to grow to between $222 billion and $227 billion as the United States emerges from its worst recession in decades.

“2010 may just turn out to be the beginning of good news for fundraisers and charities. But it may not be until 2011 that we see the amount of individual giving returning to its pre-recession 2007 purchasing power,” said Paul Schervish, the center’s director.

In 2008, individual charitable giving fell about 6 percent from the year before to $228.5 billion, the report found.

John Havens, a senior research associate at the center, said it would be some time before the decline in giving in 2009 and 2008 could be reversed.

“Charitable giving in the first two quarters of 2010 seems to be on an uptick. However, growth may not continue the rest of the year if the fiscal crisis in Europe brings a second recessionary dip to the United States,” he said.

The U.S. economy grew at a slightly slower pace than previously estimated in the first quarter but the recovery still appeared solid, data showed on Thursday, suggesting the economy could withstand fallout from a European debt crisis.

Analysts still believe the U.S. recovery is strong enough to absorb a moderate blow from a European sovereign debt crisis sparked by Greece’s deteriorating finances.

The center used data for its report from the Federal Reserve, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Association of Realtors, Standard and Poor’s, Dow Jones and a variety of other public sources.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols, editing by Mark Egan and Eric Beech