MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The leaders of some Minnesota charities worry the outpouring of donations to victims of the terrorist attacks on the East Coast will result in fewer donations to causes closer to home during the Christmas season.
Annette Bauer, local spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, said people should be "very generous at this point in giving to any organization that is working in the disaster."
But she said she hopes that in a few months those same generous people will remember that, locally, "we're still there, we're still working."
The drop-off has happened before. The floodwaters that inundated the Red River Valley in 1997 were followed by a $50-million dollar wave of contributions to relief efforts.
But when it came time for the Salvation Army's Christmas kettle drive that year, early giving fell off by nearly 50 percent. "That might be the same thing that happens this year," Bauer said. "That's something, actually, we have talked about."
The charity only reached its $2.5 million goal that year through an extraordinary effort, including a $50,000 matching contribution from Reliastar Financial Corp.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the biweekly newspaper that covers the industry, estimated this week that disaster relief totaled $558 million, including $150 million from Friday's "Tribute to Heroes" telethon.
Minnesota foundations and corporations -- including some employees -- have contributed more than $7.2 million to the September 11th Fund, according to the Minnesota Council on Foundations.
No one knows how much of disaster giving is an add-on for donors and how much will siphon off money that normally would go to other charitable causes.
Some Minnesota charities see additional causes for pessimism this year:
-- A significant amount of giving in recent years has come from people donating stock that has appreciated in value. In such cases, the full value of the stock is tax-deductible and the donor pays no capital gains tax on the appreciation. But a down market has wiped out appreciation in many stocks.
-- Thousands of Minnesota jobs were eliminated this year even before Northwest Airlines announced last week that it would lay off 4,500 workers.
Those factors are striking nerves at the Greater Twin Cities United Way, which depends heavily on contributions from payroll deductions, corporate gifts and executives.
The combined charity, Minnesota's largest grass-roots philanthropy, replaces the Minneapolis and St. Paul United Ways, which raised about $85 million last year. It is raising money for the New York September 11th Fund, just as it did for 1997 flood relief.
However, considering local and national developments, the United Way won't have a traditional goal announcement this year.
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