Disaster giving distorts 2005 picture of US donations, says report

Giving to disasters dominated US giving in 2005, so much so that despite an apparently rosy picture in which giving rose by 6.1 per cent over 2004, the true figure, adjusted for inflation, suggests an overall decline of 0.3 per cent. According to online charity industry observer Where Most Needed, on an inflation-adjusted basis, giving increased 2.7 per cent, but 3 per cent of giving was related to Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami.

The reason given for the overall decline is a slowdown in the economy in 2005 and a fall in personal income. Part of this was due to Katrina, says Where Most Needed, and concludes that Katrina is the first disaster in the US large enough for its impact on the economy to be a factor in the decline of giving.

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California community foundations merge

The governing boards of Community Foundation Silicon Valley and the Peninsula Community Foundation voted unanimously last month to join forces as the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The merger will put it among the top five community foundations in the country, with $1.5 billion in assets. A $3 million anonymous donation to the new organization has just been announced.

Emmett Carson has been named as the first president and CEO of the new organization. Repeatedly included by the NonProfit Times in its annual list of the 50 most influential non-profit leaders in the US (most recently just this August), and known for his clarion call to community foundations to form a global movement for social justice, for the last 12 years Carson has been president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation.

While the two foundations’ existing local efforts will continue, foundation officials said the combined organization will be better able to serve the broader region. Final approval of the merger is expected in October once the US Internal Revenue Service and California attorney-general have accepted its non-profit, tax-exempt status.

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