NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Where Private Assistance Supplements Government Aid

November 20, 2000

Private, non-profit charities play a substantial role in providing food, housing and health services to poorer families.

Organizations like Goodwill report a steady climb in the number of clients with annual incomes far in excess of the federal poverty level of $16,700 for a family of four.

  • Giving to human-service charities -- which include everything from crime prevention to housing, nutrition and vocational training -- increased 31 percent from 1989 to 1999, adjusted for inflation, from $13.3 billion to $17.4 billion.
  • Donations to health services, including research organizations, rose 35 percent in that period -- to $18 billion from $13.3 billion, adjusted for inflation.
  • There is at least one working adult in 39 percent of households receiving emergency food aid, according to statistics from America's Second Harvest Food Bank.
  • Forty percent of emergency food recipients have less than a high school diploma or its equivalent -- including 16 percent who completed only grade school or less.

Source: Anne Adams Lang, "Behind the Prosperity, Working People in Trouble," New York Times, November 20, 2000.


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