After Superstorm Sandy response, donations to Red Cross fall

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After Superstorm Sandy surge, Red Cross sees donations dwindle.

A year after receiving huge sums to respond to Superstorm Sandy, the American Red Cross experienced a 32 percent drop in donations — and its place among the nation’s best-supported nonprofits has declined from ninth to 21st in the latest survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, released Thursday. The Chronicle’s new survey has United Way in the top spot for the ninth consecutive year, with private donations totaling $3.87 billion for the 2014 fiscal year. Donor-advised funds, which are rapidly growing in popularity, enable donors to make a charitable contribution, immediately receive a tax benefit, and then recommend grants from the fund at any time thereafter. Suzy DeFrancis, chief public affairs officer for the Red Cross, said the organization received $307 million in 2013 for Superstorm Sandy, accounting for most of the difference between 2013 and 2014. They included destructive wildfires and flooding in much of the West, several outbreaks of tornadoes and the mudslide near Oso, Washington, that killed 43 people.

United Way’s latest donation total was virtually the same as the previous year, and down from 2009, while the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, launched in 2007, boosted its private support by more than 40 percent from 2013 to 2014 (from $1.38 billion to nearly $1.97 billion). “There’s a question as to whether the big legacy organizations are attracting new and younger donors,” said Palmer. She suggested that some young donors are seeking to support charities with sharply focused missions, rather than those with a broad array of priorities and commitments. Among the organizations that have dropped sharply are Ducks Unlimited, 91st in 1991 and now 353rd; the American Lung Association, 39th in 1991 and now 365th; and the conservative ministry Focus on the Family, 63rd in 1995 and now 329th. Komen has been struggling to maintain donations since a controversy in early 2012, when it moved to halt its financial partnerships with Planned Parenthood and then reversed the decision.

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