Downturn Threatens 100K Charities

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2009 2:45 PM CST
Children are handed free gifts in New York at the Healthfirst Winter Wonderland event.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 5 more images

(Newser) – The economic crisis isn’t just hurting Wall Street executives—it also spells dark times for the charities they once supported, the Wall Street Journal reports. The number of US nonprofits climbed from about 750,000 a decade ago to more than a million today, but watchers say 100,000 could drop off in the next year. And those that don’t shutter are facing heartbreaking cutbacks.

Take the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York: The program for poor children was once funded by Lehman Brothers, now bankrupt, and a charity that tanked thanks to Bernie Madoff. Children's Zone also lost $2.7 million of its own in the financier's alleged Ponzi scheme. “You start thinking, ‘Jesus, is anything safe?’” said the charity's founder, who laid off 10% of his workers.