(RNS) Most Americans who made charitable donations in response to the Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Centers say they intend to give as much or more than they usually give to other charities, according to a report released Tuesday (Oct. 23) by a nonprofit coalition of charitable groups.

About 70 percent of the 1,009 respondents to the Independent Sector poll said they contributed to disaster-related charities in some form after the attacks, including 58 percent who donated money to such charities.

Of those who donated money, more than half--73 percent--said they would maintain or increase their usual giving to charitable causes. About 26 percent said they would reduce their usual giving or not give any more money at all.

About half of all respondents said a weakening economy would not affect their charitable giving. About 28 percent said a weakening economy would cause them to reduce giving "somewhat," while 11 percent said such a situation would cause them to greatly reduce giving. Nine percent said they would stop giving completely if the economy weakened.

The economy's performance "presents a cause for concern," said Sara E. Melendez, president and CEO of Independent Sector.

"The convergence of three factors--the terrorist attacks, a shaky economy, and rising needs--has made this a precarious time for charities as they work to serve their communities," Melendez said. "However, the results of this poll indicate that most Americans are

thinking of their giving to Sept. 11 charities as over and above their normal giving."

The Independent Sector survey arrives as the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that donations to charitable organizations involved with disaster relief and recovery efforts has topped $1 billion. Among those helping the effort, Catholic Charities USA has raised some $5 million, the Salvation Army has raised $35 million, and the American Red Cross has raised $452 million.

Read the report: Charitable Giving: 9/11 and Beyond.

Resource: How you can help.

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