Poor Year for Rich Givers - Spear's Magazine

Poor Year for Rich Givers

In purely financial terms, last year was a dismal one for megagifts. The donors on the Philanthropy 50, The Chronicle’s annual list of the most-generous people in America, gave a total of $4.1-billion to charity in 2009, less than in all but one year since the newspaper began tracking the biggest philanthropists in 2000.

In purely financial terms, last year was a dismal one for megagifts. The donors on the Philanthropy 50, The Chronicle’s annual list of the most-generous people in America, gave a total of $4.1-billion to charity in 2009, less than in all but one year since the newspaper began tracking the biggest philanthropists in 2000.

The median gift was $41.4-million, meaning that half of those on the list gave more and half gave less. That figure compared with $69.3-million in 2008 and $74.7-million in 2007.

But while the recession is dissuading some of the country’s wealthiest people from donating, it is spurring others to get more creative in their giving. Gifts for new buildings were few last year, while donations to solve environmental and social problems, ameliorate the recession’s toll, and encourage charities to work together and in new ways, were more common.

“There’s no question that the downturn has been a catalyst for encouraging people to think differently,” says Bruce Boyd, managing director of Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors, which counsels wealthy individuals on their giving. “This is driving a period of experimentation by nonprofits and by donors that will serve us well over the next number of years.”

To read the full story, visit philanthropy.com



 

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