Donations sluggish in 2010 for many Albany charities

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- 2010 was a mixed bag in regard to donations for many of Albany's charitable service agencies.

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers reported an increase of 18 percent over donations from last year while others, such as the GraceWay Recovery Residence for Women and The Anchorage, reported they were operating on reserves and trying to keep their heads above mounting debt and lower contributions.

GISR Donated Goods Specialist Amanda Lister said recently that the organization had seen an 18 percent increase in donations from the Albany area in 2010 and a 6 percent increase over its 50-county service area, which includes east Alabama and Southwest Georgia.

The year, however, was not as good for several other Albany groups.

"We've seen a major drop in contributions over the past year," GraceWay Director of Planning Director Liz Dixon said. "We don't take any government money and all our contributions are either from businesses or private sources. We've been down for the past couple of years and are running on our reserves right now."

Dixon said the end-of-year contributions the organization has counted on in the past have yet to materialize.

"There is always hope," she said. "We are built on hope and we rely heavily on these year-end gifts to keep our doors open. I hope people realize that almost everyone loves or knows someone in need of recovery, and we need help right now."

Anchorage Executive Director Kenny Phillips says his organization is in a similar situation.

"We haven't closed the books on the year yet, but I know we're a little worse off or flat from the past couple of years. We may or may not break even." Phillips said when asked about 2010 donations. "We're operating on our reserves, but have had some donors and supporters step up to help keep us going.

"In times of economic hardship, organizations like ours are the first to feel the pinch and the last to recover."

Salvation Army Capt. Doug McClure, while pleased with the group's recently completed Kettle Drive, described the year as "flat" overall.

"We know our kettles were up a little this year, although we still don't have a final total," McClure said. "Everything else (donations of clothes and other items) were up and down and averaged out to be flat, so we didn't see a significant increase compared to the two previous years."