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Charitable Giving for U.S. Healthcare Rises a Slightly in ‘08, Canadian Charitable Giving Sees Steep Drop

Resource Center - Foundation

(November 10, 2009) Philanthropic giving for healthcare in the United States grew a tepid 2.9 percent-or about $241 million-to $8.6 billion in 2008, while similar donations in Canada fell by a dramatic 12.9 percent, to total $1.07 billion, according to the Report on Giving issued recently by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP).

Patients, businesses, foundations and other U.S. donors made nearly $8.588 billion in charitable contributions to health care facilities and organizations in 2008, the AHP's Report on Giving determined.  This 2.9 percent increase was about half the growth rate achieved in 2007, when donations totaled $8.347 billion. Most disturbing was the fact that total pledges for charity fell 6.2 percent in the latest year, while planned gifts secured but not paid fell almost 13 percent, notes the report.

U.S. Sees Only Slight Rise

Accounting for much of last year's slight advance in giving was the fact that most nonprofit hospitals and healthcare systems in the U.S. closed their books before the last quarter of 2008, when U.S. gross domestic product plunged more than five percent. Institutions that closed their books on Dec. 31, 2008, actually saw a 0.2 percent dip in annual giving.

Meanwhile, AHP said Canadian contributions declined to $1.068 billion in 2008, compared to $1.337 billion in 2007, when annual giving had risen by an impressive nine percent over 2006 levels.

Individual donors were the largest source of contributions in both the U.S. and Canada, and in both countries, one fifth of all individual donors were patients. 

In the U.S., more than eight of every 10 donations came from individuals, whose contributions comprised 60 percent of all philanthropic funds raised by nonprofit healthcare institutions last year. One in 10 donations were made by businesses, including business-sponsored foundations, representing 17.5 percent of all funds raised, down slightly from 2007. Non-corporate foundations accounted for less than three percent of donors but almost 14 percent of revenues. Other U.S. giving sources, including hospital auxiliaries, public agencies, and civic groups, accounted for 8.6 percent of total funds raised in 2008, compared to 7.5 percent in 2007.

Individual Gifts the Culprit

In Canada, the portion of donations made by individual givers dipped almost 10 percent last year to just under 52 percent of the total. Canadian businesses, including corporate foundations, supplied about one-quarter of the 2008 funding, about the same as the previous year. Canadian foundations, other than corporate, contributed 6.3 percent in 2008, also little changed from the year-earlier level. The AHP Report on Giving noted that, "the biggest change was other types, such as hospital auxiliaries, public agencies, civic groups, whose share rose from 7.0 percent to 16.2 percent."

As in previous years, the AHP Report on Giving found that funds raised in the U.S. for healthcare institutions in 2008 were largely used to support construction and renovation of facilities, although to a lesser extent than in 2007, followed by the purchase of equipment, general operations and community benefit programs.

During the same period, the largest portion of philanthropic funds raised by Canadian hospitals, 47.2 percent, went for equipment purchases. This was more than twice the amount for construction and renovation, which was the next-largest spending category, followed by research and teaching and general operations.

Click here to view a fact sheet for the AHP report on giving for healthcare in FY2008.



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