Despite the economy, Americans keep on giving


Gift or charitable donation? I don't know which one to favor but I am going to try to fund both for the holidays.

Looks like I'm not alone. An Associated Press story found that charitable giving will most likely be recession-proof this year. The Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University states that the stock market has a small impact on charitable donations nationwide. During the recession of 2001-2002, 70% of Americans still gave an average of $2,000.

Will that still be the case this year? Probably not in New York, where charities get much of their money from Wall Street, but the trend is still positive for charities in the rest of the country. The American Heart Association says donations are up for the year, while the American Red Cross's campaign to raise $100 million passed the $60 million mark after just two months. And a Harris Interactive phone survey found that this holiday season may be better than usual. The late-October survey that found while seven in 10 adults would spend less on gifts, half of the people said they would be more likely to give a donation as a gift over toys or clothes.

Of course, the U.S. has been through a lot of economic turmoil in the past month. I don't know if I'll have enough to gift my favorite charities, while family pressure requires gifts for certain relatives. But because I know I'll have a warm home, a few gifts and eggnog for the holidays, while many other people don't, I'll do what I can to help them feel some cheer. And I'm just one of millions in this country who will. Seems that's just the American way.