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Philanthropic Donations Tread Water During Recession
America's wealthiest households continued to give to their favorite charities at the same rate during the recession, but a bad economy meant dollar figures were down.
The recently released 2012 Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy--researched in partnership with the Center on Philanthropy--showed giving as a percentage of household income for the wealthy remained at about 9 percent between 2009 and 2011, but the recession meant the average dollar amount given per household declined 7 percent, from $56,621 to $52,770.
However, the survey, which questioned 700 people with liquid assets of $1 million or more, also showed that in the next three to five years, 76 percent of households plan to donate as much or more money as they have in the past.
That is significant because of the nearly $300 billion donated last year, more than 70 percent was given by individuals--and nearly half of that was given by the wealthiest 3 percent of American households. Last year, 95 percent of high-net worth households donated to at least one charity--while 65 percent of the general population of U.S. households donate to at least one charity, according to the study.
The study also revealed in 2011, 89 percent of the wealthy volunteered time to nonprofit organizations--an increase of 10 percent form 2009.
The 2012 survey is the fourth such study of philanthropy--with the studies being released every two years.
"Since 2006, this has become the largest and one of the longest running studies of its kind, offering key insights that help to inform nonprofit organizations' donor engagement strategies," said Claire Costello, philanthropic practice executive for U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management.