US Charitable Contributions Top $400 Billion
A robust stock market and a healthy economy has allowed Americans to donate more generously than ever before.
The Giving USA report, released Tuesday, said donations from individuals, estates, foundations and corporations topped the $400 billion mark for the first time in 2017, up 5.2 percent from the estimate of $389.64 billion for 2016.
Gifts to foundations saw the biggest gain in 2017, rising 15.5 percent, driven by large gifts from philanthropists to their own foundations, like the $1 billion gift from Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell and his wife, Susan, and $2 billion from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.
The second-largest increase was an 8.7 percent increase to arts, culture and humanities. The only sector that did not fare well was international affairs, which saw a decrease of 4.4 percent.
Fundraisers across the U.S. fear the possibility of looming trade wars and changes in U.S. tax laws could negatively affect future donations.
5 Russian, 3 Syrian Businessmen Charged in US
Five Russian and three Syrian businessmen were indicted in federal court in Washington Tuesday for alleged money laundering and using a Crimean-based shipping company to send jet fuel to Syria.
Along with the charges, the eight also face large fines.
"The U.S. sanctions on Syria and Crimea thwart Syria's support of terrorism and its pursuit and use of weapons of mass destruction as well as the actions of those who seek to undermine Ukraine's democratic processes and territorial integrity," Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.
The eight are accused of setting up front companies and using phony documents and shipping records to circumvent sanctions against U.S. dollar wires to Syria or any transactions with Syria involving U.S. dollars.
The suspects allegedly used tankers owned by a Russian-based company to illegally ship jet fuel and other materials to Syria.
The defendants have not yet entered a plea, but they face as much as 25 years in prison if convicted on all charges.