For the ninth year in a row, the Salvation Army has topped TheChronicle of Philanthropy's list of the nation's leading charities. The Salvation Army raised $1.44 billion in 2000, an increase of 3.1percent since 1999, the independent national newspaper reported. Overall, the top U.S. charities saw donations increase 13 percentfrom 1999 to 2000. The Philanthropy 400 survey ranks 400 of the nation'slargest nonprofits by the amount of money they raise from privatesources. Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund was ranked second and theYMCA was ranked third.

Other than the Salvation Army, several religiously orientedcharities were among the top 25 in the ranking. Lutheran Services in America ranked fifth, with $710 million.Catholic Charities USA ranked No. 13, with $414 million. Feed theChildren, a Christian relief organization based in Oklahoma City, ranked16th with $396 million. World Vision, a Christian relief organizationbased in Federal Way, Wash., ranked No. 17, with $372 million. Habitatfor Humanity International ranked No. 18, with $371 million. CampusCrusade for Christ International ranked No. 21, with $326 million.

The top 400 charities included 21 organizations that were designatedas religious groups, but other religious organizations in the listingwere cited in other categories, such as human services or internationalwork.

The American Red Cross, which was ranked at No. 6, has begun asearch for new leadership after Dr. Bernadine Healy announced herresignation as president, effective Dec.

31, on Friday (Oct. 26). Healy's presidency, which began in September 1999, had growncontroversial over such matters as decisions about the distribution ofthe more than $500 million the charity had raised for victims of theSept. 11 attacks and her support of withholding dues to theinternational Red Cross movement until it recognized Israel's Red Crosssociety. Referring to each matter, she said in her resignation speechthat "reasonable people can differ."