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article imagePeople still digging in pockets to donate in tough economic times

By Andrew Moran     Feb 21, 2013 in World
Melbourne - Despite the paucity of disposable income in the United States and elsewhere around the world, charitable contributions are still prevalent, according to statistics. Although the numbers are not as high as they used to be, donations are still rampant.
The Great Recession that has caused a global economic downturn has left millions of households in financial disrepair. Many are living paycheck-to-paycheck and even one missed payday can cause economic calamity for the average family.
Nevertheless, figures by the Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University have shown that philanthropic contributions have increased four percent to $298.42 billion in 2011. Even though this is still $11 billion below the 2007 records, charities and corporations are still finding extra cash to donate to worthwhile causes, whether it’s the arts, education, health or sports programs for troubled youth.
Americans of all ages are also giving away their time for free. A study by the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) found that 26.3 percent of Americans aged 16 and older volunteered between 2009 and 2010.
In total, the Giving USA report estimated that 117 million U.S. households, 99,000 estates, 12 million corporations and 76,000 foundations donated to charity in 2011. Their donations went to roughly 1.1 million registered charities and about 222,000 American religious organizations.
The Fred Hollows Foundation, a charity that was founded in 1992 that increases eye care services around the globe, has made considerable achievements and successes to impoverished areas in parts of the world through the generosity and kindness of its donors.
Established by the late Professor Fred Hollows, the foundation has now expanded into various impecunious communities of Australia, Africa and Southeast and South Asia. Its charitable work focuses on blindness prevention and Australian Indigenous health. This dedicated work has led to the construction and renovation of 50 eye health facilities, $3.38 million worth of deliveries of medical equipment and eye examinations of more than 1.6 million people.
Due to its accomplishments, it was named as one of the top 50 best non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the Global Journal.
One of its dedicated contributors is Geoffrey Edelsten, a deregistered Australian medical doctor, who has worked quite closely with various charities, non-profit organizations and foundations over his 30-year career.
In the last three years alone, Edelsten has given away approximately $2 million to different philanthropic ventures, including the Fred Hollows Foundation and his own charity, the Great Expectations Foundation, which consists of several beneficiaries, such as BeyondBlue, the Royal Children's Hospital and Magen David Adom.
Edelsten made headlines in 2009 when he married Brynne Gordon. The entire wedding was paid for by Edelsten and instead of accepting wedding gifts he encouraged all 500 of his guests to make donations to his non-profit organization, which was established three months prior to his wedding event.
Over the years, Edelsten has made considerable contributions to Music Rostrum Australia, a charity that nurtures young music talent, the Autistic Children’s Association, the Australian Sports Foundation, RCH Child Cancer Centre, Fight Cancer Foundation, Chabad of Melbourne, American Women’s Auxiliary to the RCH and even his old school Mt. Scopus Memorial College.
Even with the long list of charities he supports, the Fred Hollows Foundation remains close to him.
More about fred hollows foundation, geoffrey edelsten, Philanthropy, Charity, great expectations foundation
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