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The Changing Role of
Continues to Pound Poverty-Stricken Americans:
500,000 legal immigrants are expected to lose welfare
180,000 poor children will be denied disability
The number of nights spent in Catholic-operated
shelters increased 35% last year
Able-bodied adults with no dependents who seek jobs
but cannot find them are losing their food stamps
More than half of those asking for food or shelter at many
charities are from the working-poor -- people with low wages who cannot make ends meet.
Americans are benefiting from a
strong economy, including a meteoric rise in the stock market. We are contributing more to
nonprofit organizations overall, but giving less to charities that provide desperately
needed food, shelter, job training, and other human services for people struggling to stay
out of poverty.
organizations receive $11.7 billion or 8% of total American charitable contributions. This
is the only major category of nonprofit organizations to endure reduced public support in
1994 and 1995.
donations to human service groups have fallen 11.4% in inflation-adjusted dollars. This
includes homeless shelters and youth development, vocational training, domestic disaster
relief, hunger, senior and woman's programs. Overall, giving has increased 7.4% during the
same time period, according to data from the American Association of Fundraising
Counsel (AAFRC) Trust for
funding to help the poor is expected to fall $15 billion a year for the next seven years.
Even if Americans double their giving to human service programs, which is highly unlikely,
it will still not make up for government funding cutbacks. Therefore, it is vital that
donors target the most efficient and effective groups.
How to help
Donors should consider
generously supporting those charities that not only help people to overcome a crisis
situation but also those charities that help them to obtain vocational and living skills to
lead healthy, and productive lives. We can learn from our government's mistakes, being
careful to avoid giving to organizations that allow capable individuals to grow
dependent on handouts.
may want to give more to help the poor because they feel it is the right thing to do.
Others, who are less altruistic, may want to bear in mind that desperate people cut off from
both government and charity aid may resort to crime, and that is going to make everybody
else's life harder.
By Daniel Borochoff, founder and president of the American
Institute of Philanthropy -
www.charitywatch.org - one of the nation's foremost charity watchdogs.
Dan's bio is with Hearts and Minds governing board
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April 20, 2006.
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