A big round of applause for all the people out there who made 2005 a banner year for charitable giving.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported this week that donations to the nation's largest charities rose 13% last year. That just about matches the old record -- a little bit more than 13% in 1999, at the height of the stock market boom. The publication has been tracking donations at the nation's 400 biggest charities for 16 years.
If you think back, you'll remember that we virtually rang in the new year in 2005 with terrible news that a tsunami had killed hundreds of thousands of people in Asia. Then, that summer, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita put much of the Gulf Coast underwater.
Those two disasters helped drive up charitable giving, but Americans proved themselves to be generous across the board. Excluding those disaster relief funds, charitable donations still rose 8.3%, after adjusting for inflation.
Another of the survey's findings: All signs point to an equally strong wave of charitable giving this year. "Veteran fund raisers say the outlook for giving is the most upbeat in a generation," the chronicle reported.
How can you grab a hold of this wave of generosity? Participate in Foolanthropy!
This year marks the tenth interactive, cooperative charity drive directed by the Fool community. You can head over to the special discussion board and nominate a charity you think is a worthy cause. The Motley Fool's Foolanthropy Committee will keep an eye on the discussion and select five of the most Foolish for this year's charity drive, to be announced around Nov. 20.
You can even help sweeten the pot just by participating in the Fool discussion boards. The "My 2 Cents Campaign" will donate $0.02 for each post on every board in December. Imagine, your opinions will be worth money in the bank!
For more details, take a look at the letter of introduction written by David Gardner and Carrie Crockett.
Last year, Fools raised $289,597. You can see where the money went by reading this article, "Where Are They Now?". One past Foolanthropy pick has even won one of the world's biggest honors, a Nobel Peace Prize.
Fool contributor Mary Dalrymple welcomes your feedback. The Fool has a disclosure policy.