Charities Hit Hard by Economic Crisis: “I've Never Seen It So Bad”

Times are tough all over -- and getting even worse on skid row.

That's the word from charities that serve the homeless in downtown Los Angeles.

"We're down about 25 percent over our normal donations, so we're barely hanging in there," Andy Bales, CEO of the century-old Union Rescue Mission says. "I've never seen it this bad."

In a story headlined "Economic Crunch Hits Downtown Nonprofits," the Downtown News reports that layoffs, falling corporate profits and gloom about the future have started to his charitable donations hards.

It couldn't come at a worse time for charities with the holiday season coming up when they raise most of their money.

The falloff in donations isn't just a local problem.

Nonprofits across the country are cutting spending and freezing salaries because of the economic crisis, according to a story today.

In New York, AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros. were all but contributors to the Museum of Modern Art and numerous other charities but not anymore -- not with their troubles. Corporate donations are down all over the country as executives as their company profits and personal incomes tumble.

"I don't think I'm alone in feeling that the world we are living in, where people are making hundreds of millions a year and tens of millions in bonuses that were doubling and tripling, seemed a little unreal," Norma Hurlburt, executive director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center told Bloomberg.

"Maybe there's some reality creeping in here now. And I should do my best to react to it."

Among  Los Angeles charities of various types that reality is being felt hard already and officials of nonprofits are scrambling to find innovative ways to raise money and remain upbeat about fulfilling their goals in hard times.

"When the Depression hit, the Union Rescue Mission served 50 percent of the hungry people in L.A.," said Bales of the Union Rescue Mission. "So if our forefathers figured out a way to make it through the Depression, we're going to have to do the same."

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