Because of the terrorist attacks and the bear market on Wall Street, the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in early October trimmed its staff by 20 percent and cut other expenses. The moves reduced 2001 spending by $6 million. The New York-based agency has more than 300 workers and did not say precisely how many would be laid off.
None of the agency's 2,300 mission personnel in 71 countries will be cut, according to General Secretary Ralph Nugent.
"Who would have ever thought the market would be shut down [after September 11]?" Nugent asks. "But it was, and we have to deal with that." He estimated the agency had lost $21.3 million in the value of its portfolio since 1999.
Despite wobbly stock markets, charities have collected more than $1 billion for relief. Independent Sector, a philanthropic coalition, says an October telephone survey of 1,009 individuals found that:
- 58 percent gave financially.
- 73 percent of September 11 givers expect to give as much or more than they usually give to other charities.
- 50 percent say the poor economy will reduce their giving.
"Most Americans are thinking of their giving to September 11 charities as over and above their normal giving," says Sara E. Meléndez, president of Independent Sector.
Foundations are another major financial source for charitable work. Barbara Beck, public affairs manager for the religious division of the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, does not foresee any immediate changes.
Gretchen Wolfram, communications director for the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis, expects 2001 grants to religious causes to increase slightly over last year's $141.5 million. With 95 percent of its $15.6 billion in assets held in Eli Lilly & Co. stock, the foundation's grant-making ability reflects the company's performance.
Copyright © 2001 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Since September 11, relief and development agencies have carefully watched for a decrease in giving and debated how to use the terrorist attacks in appeals.
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