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Good news for religious organizations from the Chronicle of Philanthropy today. According to a new study, religious groups didn't suffer nearly as much as other charitable organizations as a result of the financial downturn.
Charitable contributions declined by just 0.1 percent among 1,148 religious organizations whose financial statements were examined by the council. Sharper decreases have been found in other surveys: For example, the total raised by the Philanthropy 400, the nation’s largest charities, fell by 11 percent last year alone. All told, religious organizations in the study—which make up some 80 percent of the council’s members—raised $12.10-billion last year, down from $12.11-billion in 2007 before the recession hit.
While much can be said about the wobbly faith commitment of Americans--see recent studies on the rise of religion switching, for instance--it's nice to see that when it comes to giving to worthy causes, they can manage to stick by their faiths. And lest some commentator suggest these funds are just going into the hands of some huckster preachers:

The council found the largest increases in contributions among 62 religious organizations that serve children. From 2007 to 2009, giving to 11 groups that seek child sponsors who make monthly gifts to help needy youths rose by 26 percent. Thirteen other charities that care for orphans reported a 12-percent increase, and 14 charities that provide adoption services saw donations rise by 9 percent. Twenty-four children’s homes in the study reported a 6-percent increase.

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