Charitable giving dips, but some Catholic agencies holding on

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported this week that giving to the 400 largest charities in the U.S. is down overall 11 percent this year. That’s the worst drop in the two decades since the Chronicle began ranking its Philanthropy 400. Collectively, the 400 top charities raised over $68 billion last year. That’s a lot of giving, but still about $7 billion less than 2008.

The Chronicle list includes charitable organizations that raise funds from private individuals, businesses and foundations. It does not consider government funding, for example, research dollars or student support. The rankings are based on 2009 data.

Ten Catholic institutions made the top 400 this year. They include social service agencies, health care organizations and universities.

(CNS/Bob Roller)

The only agency in the top 10 is Catholic Charities USA, ranking No. 3. It brought in $1.28 billion last year, a 5.2 percent increase over the prior year.

Three other service agencies are in the 400. They are (with ranking, funds raised in 2009 and percentage increase or decrease from 2008): Catholic Medical Mission Board (No. 52) with $279 million, up 35.5 percent; Catholic Relief Services (No. 67) bringing in $240 million, up only 0.7 percent; and the Phoenix-based St. Mary’s Food Bank (No. 152) raising $127 million, up 53.5 percent.

Father Flanagan’s Boy’s Home in Nebraska (No. 160) brought in $121 million, up a nice 130.8 percent.

The lone Catholic health care system in the 400 — the San Francisco-based Catholic Health Care West (No. 237) — saw $82 million in giving, up 1.4 percent.

Five higher-education institutions made the list. They are: University of Notre Dame (No. 88) with $198 million, down 25.6 percent; Georgetown University (No. 99) with $181 million, up 2.7 percent; Boston College (No. 230) raising $84 million, down 16 percent; St. Louis University (No. 261), new to the list this year, raising $73 million, up 56.7 percent; and finally Fordham University (No. 267) bringing in $70 million, up 4.5 percent.

Other agencies charities that have old or close Catholic ties making the list include United Way, Food for the Poor, the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, Covenant House, Habitat for Humanity and St. Jude’s Hospital.

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