Nonprofits Fear Fundraising Slump After Terrorist Attacks

Even as funds continue to pour into relief and recovery funds created for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the New York Times reports that nonprofits in many parts of the country are experiencing declines in donations, with small nonprofit agencies that help the needy — food banks, battered women's shelters, programs for the homeless and people with AIDS — hit especially hard.

"We're $300,000 behind in meeting our budget for the year," said Marilyn Fountain, community relations coordinator for Star of Hope, which operates three residences for the homeless. "On Sept. 20, we had no money at all come in. Since then, it's not an empty box, but it's stayed about 35 percent down from what it should be."

In some cases, fundraising events and activities are bringing in far less than expected, while in others major contributors are reneging on their pledges, sending donations to relief funds for victims of the terrorist attacks instead. Making matters worse, many foundations are likely to cut back on their giving in the months to come, given the declines in the value of foundation endowments that have occurred as a result of the falling stock market.

"All the United Ways and all our agencies are nervous," said Tony de Christofaro, a spokesman for the United Way for the National Capital Region. "We're hoping people won't make either-or decisions, that they'll contribute to their regular causes and then, above and beyond that, to the relief effort."

Tamar Lewin. "Outside New York, Charities Feel the Pinch" New York Times 10/14/2001.