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Financial Planning > Charitable Giving

Top 15 Charities for 2015 Fundraising

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A donor-advised fund sponsor for the first time captured the top spot in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s latest annual ranking of 400 charities that raise the most from private sources.

The Philanthropy 400 rankings are based on money charities bring in from individuals, foundations and corporations. Last year, these groups raised a record $104 billion. Only 119 groups reported a decline in giving in 2015.

These 400 big charities raised 7% more last year than in 2014. This compared with a 4% increase for all charities tabulated by “Giving USA,” an annual report on the state of U.S. philanthropy.

Brian Gallagher, president of United Way Worldwide, told The Chronicle that fundamental economic shifts, including corporate consolidation and wage stagnation, weighed against his charity’s workplace-giving programs. “Middle-class Americans haven’t seen an increase in income over 30 years and that affects us directly,” Gallagher said.

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Fidelity Charitable’s president Pamela Norley attributed its boom largely to the organization’s big investment in making online-giving transactions easy for donors. She told The Chronicle that technology was “an intermediary between the donor and charity that allows the process of giving to be simpler and more transparent and easier for record-keeping.”

Other Findings

The Chronicle’s research found that social-service groups on the new list had only a 2% increase in donations in 2015. A 15-year analysis of the biggest of these charities showed that they had declined or flattened, while smaller ones had fared better, often bolstered by donations of food, medicine and other goods.

Global groups rose in the ranking, as 21 international relief and development organizations made it into the top 100 organizations, up from only eight groups ranked that high 15 years ago.

The Chronicle said a series of major humanitarian disasters had pushed this growth, as had the influence of the internet and social media. The three top international groups on the Philanthropy 400 receive at least half of their contributions in the form of medicines and other in-kind donations.

Following are the top 15 charities on this year’s Philanthropy 400 list, including their category, private support and percent change from 2014.

The Philanthropy 400 Top 15

Harvard campus.

15. American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities/St. Jude Children’s Research

(hospital and medical centers), $1 billion, 8.4%

14. Harvard University

(colleges and universities), private, $1 billion, -9.5%

YMCA website

13. Food for the Poor

(international), $1.2 billion, 27.3%

12. The Y

(social service), $1.2 billion, 28.6%

11. Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program

(DAF), $1.2 billion, 22%

10. Silicon Valley Community Foundation

(community foundations), $1.2 billion, -37.6%

Stanford University campus.

9. National Christian Foundation

(DAF), $1.4 billion, 26.8%

8. Stanford University

(colleges and universities), private, $1.6 billion, 75%

Salvation Army food service. (Photo: AP)

7. The Task Ford for Global Health

(international), $1.7 billion, -9.6%

6. Salvation Army

(social service), $1.9 billion, -10%

Schwab Founder Charles Schwab.

5. Catholic Charities USA

(social service) $2 billion, -4.2%

4. Schwab Charitable Fund

(DAF), $2.1 billion, 16.2%

United Way website.

3. Feeding American

(social service), $2.2 billion, 6.6%

2. United Way Worldwide

(social service), $3.7 billion, -4.2%

1. Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund

(DAF), $4.6 billion, 19.7%

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