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Report Card Shows Local Donors Are Generous

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A report card on charitable giving says Erie County donors are just as generous as national donors. Results of the report card were released Monday.

The first Western New York Charitable Report Card finds that total local donations increased by 17 percent from 1998 to 2001 -- growing faster than the rate of inflation.

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County commissioned the report card. Gail Johnstone, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, says the goal of the report is to examine "patterns" of charitable giving from year to year.

The report found that individual donors represent the largest share of giving -- two times over corporate donations. But Johnstone says that's not a surprise.

"This report shows that in every type of organization examined and in every year of the study individual giving was more than double corporate and foundation giving combined," Johnstone said.

Johnstone says local corporate donations to the arts were best in 2001 with a 17 percent increase.

"The arts were right on the mark for Erie County compared to the rest of the United States," Johnstone said. "Education and health in Erie County did better than elsewhere. Environment, human services and other publicly-funded organizations did not do as well."

Johnstone says the Community Foundation and United Way hope the county giving patterns offer a deeper understanding to non-profits. She says the four year growth shows a "very strong" commitment by local donors to deliver to the needs of others.