WASHINGTON (RNS) Religious organizations reported a 0.7 percent decrease in donations last year, according to a study by Giving USA Foundation, a marked contrast from the 5.5 percent increase in giving reported in 2008.
Religious congregations accounted for 33 percent of the total $303 billion in contributions in 2009. This is the third year in a row that religious donations have exceeded $100 billion.
Total donations for all charitable groups in 2009 were down by 3.6 percent.
The survey showed that foundations lost $31 billion in 2009, a 8 percent decrease from 2008. Donations to public organizations fell by $22.7 billion -- a 4.6 percent decline -- while international aid organizations received about $9 billion, a 6 percent increase.
"While overall giving declined, many donors -- including individuals and foundations -- made special efforts in 2009 to respond to greater humanitarian needs," said foundation chair Edith Falk in a statement.
The majority of donations came from individual contributors, who gave more than $227 billion.
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