(RNS) Religious organizations reported a 5.5 increase in donations last year, a marked contrast from the nationwide 2-percent decline in charitable giving, according to a study by Giving USA Foundation.
Religious congregations, which accounted for 35 percent of the total
$307 billion in charitable contributions, exceeded $100 billion in donations for the second year in a row.
Though public-society benefit and international affairs organizations also cited increases in charitable contributions, two-thirds of public charities reported a decrease for only the second time in the report’s 54-year history.

The economic recession spurred this decline, Del Martin, the chairwoman of the foundation, said in a statement. “We definitely did see belt-tightening … but it could have been a lot worse,” Martin said.
Even with the cutbacks, the total still exceeded the $300 billion mark for the second consecutive year.
The survey showed that 54 percent of human services charities saw an increase in need for their services in 2008, and 60 percent were forced to cut expenses. Organizations serving youth development were hit the hardest, with 74 percent reporting funding shortages.
The majority of donations came from individual contributors, who gave more than $229 billion. Gifts to religious organizations made up half of all individual contributors. Corporate donations totaled $14 billion, a 4.5 percent decrease from the year before.
By Lindsay Perna
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg believes the Bible’s teachings don’t line up with supporting President Trump. CNN Town Hall moderator Erin Burnett asked Buttigieg if he thinks it’s possible for a true Christian to support the president. Prior to quoting his previous remarks on the president’s evangelical support, she prefaced her question, “To the point […]

This morning, a jury convicted Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of felony sex crime and rape. However, he was acquitted on some of the most serious charges placed against him, like predatory sexual assault. The trial was the first criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations against Weinstein from more than 90 women, including […]

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is under scrutiny for issuing over $1 million in anti-human trafficking grants to less qualified organizations, according to a Reuters report on a whistleblower complaint. The DOJ issued grants to two groups including Hookers for Jesus, a Nevada nonprofit and the Lincoln Tubman Foundation in South Carolina last year according […]

Remembering the millions of men, women and children who died at the hands of the Holocaust is part of our past that we must commit to reflecting on, even with the passage of time. Speaking to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square January 26th, the pope said that “in the face of this immense tragedy, this […]