Donations to California ‘Safety-Net’ Agencies Drop by $25M in Recent Months
Charitable donations to California "safety-net" organizations have dropped by $25 million since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to a new survey sponsored by California Cares, a coalition of philanthropy groups including The California Endowment. The Los Angeles Times reports that the survey of 413 not-for-profit agencies, including organizations that provide health care and mental health services, found that each lost an average of $62,000 over the last three months. When that figure is extrapolated to the 3,939 safety-net organizations statewide, the total loss might reach $300 million, the Times reports (O'Connor, Los Angeles Times, 12/5). At the same time, demand for services offered by these organizations has increased 60%, according to the survey. Primary health care and mental health care programs have each experienced a 19% increase in demand since the Sept. 11 attacks (The California Endowment release, 12/4). The Sept. 11 attacks, coupled with the recession, have contributed to the "perfect storm" scenario of increased need and decreased donations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
At the same time, people are donating to Sept. 11 relief efforts in lieu of local organizations or donating less to other organizations because of the "economic pinch" (Said, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/5). Robert Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment, said, "This disastrous combination of reduced funding and increased need for services means that our state's safety-net providers will face a period of unprecedented crisis." In response to the decline in donations, California Cares is launching an ad campaign asking the public to increase donations to local charities (The California Endowment release, 12/4). The $2.5 million campaign will use television, print and radio ads that feature "socially conscious lyrics" set against statistical information from the survey that shows "health clinics are overburdened and underfunded" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/5). The survey is available at http://www.calendow.org/news/frm_news.htm.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.