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Wealthy Americans cut back on giving in 2009

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Wealthy Americans scaled back their charitable contributions nearly 35 percent in 2009, a recently released study of wealthy households shows.

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy for 2010 found that average charitable giving dropped from $83,034 in 2007 to $54,016 in 2009, after adjusting for inflation.

Wealthy philanthropists drew the purse strings tightest on health organizations, where the average gift dropped 63.7 percent, from $12,430 to $4,511.

The study, conducted every two years in partnership with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, examines the habits of wealthy households, which account for about half of all charitable giving in the United States.

Researchers surveyed more than 800 randomly selected households where income was greater than $200,000 per year, or net worth, excluding the value of the primary residence, was at least $1 million. The average wealth of respondents was more than $10 million, and half of them had a net worth between $3 million and $20 million.

The decline in giving reflected wealthy people’s own financial situations. Although total charitable dollars fell, giving as a portion of income remained somewhat steady at 9 percent, compared with 11 percent in 2007.

Wealthy philanthropists appeared to adjust their priorities in response to the recession. The portion who gave to basic human needs rose from 75 percent in 2007 to 85 percent in 2009.

Some types of not-for-profits received bigger gifts on average. Arts, which are already supported to a greater degree by wealthy people, saw the average gift rise 11.6 percent, to $5,531. Gifts to international causes and the environment and animals grew as well.

Tax issues are a significant motivator, researchers found. About two-thirds, or 67 percent, of wealthy households reported that they would somewhat or dramatically decrease their contributions if they were to receive zero income-tax deductions. That was up from 47 percent in 2007.

If the estate tax were repealed, 43 percent of wealthy households would somewhat or dramatically increase the amount they leave to charity. That was up from 36 percent in 2007.
 

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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