Charitable Giving

Will Americans be generous in the '90s?


Charitable groups are approaching the giving season with a mixture of perennial optimism and concern about new public wariness. The aftershocks of last year's scandal over executive perks at the United Way are still rippling through the nonprofit community, while a slow economy has forced many employees and corporations to reduce giving. Critics from the left and right continue to raise age-old questions about deserving and undeserving poor, the appropriateness of workplace solicitations and the responsibility of the wealthy to donate more generously. Criticism, however, has been part of the charity world for centuries. Many groups, among them the venerable Salvation Army, report that the American tradition of philanthropy -- unique in all the world -- is alive and well. GRAPHICS: Photo, Salvation Army bellringers ...

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