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Nov 19, 2009 8:51 PM by Jim Hummel

Charitable Donations and the Economy

The Palates and Pate benefit has been called the social event of the season, but for the first time in it's 9 year run, the event has not sold out. The event benefits the Outreach Center, a charitable organization which helps less fortunate across Acadiana.

"We're kind of nervous about it, it's a slower economy and the weird dichotomy inside social services is that as the need for our services increases, a lot of times, the financial resources decrease," said Valerie Keller, CEO of the Outreach Center.

Typically the money raised at the benefit accounts for 30% of the center's operating budget. That money is then matched by federal funds.

"The flip side to that is if Palates and Pate funds are down, then we can miss the opportunity to be able to match those federal dollars and the economic impact to our community is two fold," Keller said.

UL Economist Tony Greco says the situation may be a sign of the times. Greco says the Outreach Center is not alone, and the pinch is being felt by organizations across the country.

"They'll probably have to campaign a little harder and ask people to make smaller contributions but emphasize the fact that every little bit helps," Greco said.

Charities across the country are bracing for a drop in generosity. According to a recent survey, just 38% of Americans say they'll give charitable gifts this year. That's down from 49% last year.

Jim Hummel

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