Charities see billions less in donations

A new ranking of the nation's 400 biggest charities shows donations dropped by 11 percent overall last year as the Great Recession ended — the worst decline in 20 years since the Chronicle of Philanthropy began keeping a tally.

The Philanthropy 400 report released Monday shows such familiar names as the United Way and the Salvation Army, both based near Washington, continue to dominate the ranking, despite the 2009 declines. The survey accounts for $68.6 billion in charitable contributions.

"It shows that charities are really having a tough time, and this is some of the most successful charities in the United States," Chronicle Editor Stacy Palmer said. "Usually bigger charities are more resilient, so that's the part that is still surprising."


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