WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (AP) - America's leading charities raised more than $38 billion last year, an increase of 13 percent over 1998, a philanthropy journal reports in this week's issue.
The Salvation Army led the 1999 survey of the top 400 charities for the eighth straight year, receiving $1.4 billion in cash and donated goods, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the weekly "Newspaper of the Nonprofit World," which began compiling contribution statistics in 1991.
The top 400 accounted last year for about a fifth of charitable giving nationwide, which has steadily increased over the past decade, especially in the last three years.
"Giving flows and grows with the economy," Eugene R. Tempel, director of Indiana University Center on Philanthropy was quoted by the Chronicle as saying.
"If the stock markets are not doing as well people are not going to be making these large transfers of assets," he said.
The YMCA of the USA ranked second with $693.3 million in donations, followed by the American Red Cross, which saw a 25 percent increase in contributions to $678.3 million.
Many charities experienced sudden growth because of a single, large donation.
Contributions to the San Diego Museum of Art in 1999 were 28 times greater than the year before because of a $30 million gift from the estate of Rea and Lela Axline, said Chronicle spokesman Harvy Lipman.
The San Diego couple's fortune came from Rea Axline's patent on a process for coating metal alloys onto other metal objects that was used on tanks and submarines in World War II. Their estate also gave $30 million to another local art museum and $60 million to the California Institute of Technology.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy gathers financial data on cash and in-kind donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. Only private donations are tallied, not money from the government or fees charged by organizations.
On the list were 133 colleges and universities, 40 international groups and 25 hospitals and medical centers. Educational institutions received the most support, bringing in $12.7 billion, a 9.7 percent increase from 1998.