Joyfully - and wisely - donate your money this holiday season

Christmas is often called the most generous time of the year.

We give to friends, family and ourselves (but as the average American's amount of debt and nationwide negative savings rate indicates, we give a whole lot to ourselves). That aside, Christmas is also a special time of the year when the altruistic and the tax-thrifty give charitable donations.

Before making your donations this year, check out the American Institute of Philanthropy's (AIP) Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report. The report grades various charities based on how much each organization spends on program services and fundraising.

In AIP's view, 60 percent or greater is a reasonable amount for most charities to spend on programs. The report also indicates how much it takes each organization to raise $100. The AIP believes $35 or less is a reasonable amount to raise $100. The AIP uses these two factors to grade an organization. The report gives other interesting tidbits of information, such as the charity's top salaries and an organization's recent fund balance.

For example:

The American Humane Association spends 72-74 percent of its income on program services. It takes the organization $23-$25 to earn $100. It earned a B+. Its highest salary paid is $250,000.

The American Breast Cancer Foundation spends 14-71 percent on program services. According to the report, when a range of numbers is given, the higher number in most cases reflects the charity's own decision on how much is spent on charitable program expenses. It spends $27-$86 to raise $100. These wide ranges didn't appeal to the AIP. It gave this organization an F.

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Cancer Research Institute, Lance Armstrong Foundation and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation had stellar reports in the A-B range.

The American Red Cross spends 91 percent on program services. It takes $23 to raise $100. Not a surprise: In 2003 it was the eighth largest charity by private support, raising $587.5 million. The Salvation Army topped the list, privately raising $1.3 billion.

Thinking of sponsoring a child in the New Year? All the organizations that opened their books to the AIP received good ratings, including Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, Compassion International and Children Incorporated.

To get your own copy of AIP's charity rating guide call 773-529-2300 or visit

The Young Entrepreneur Foundation of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) annually awards $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors who have demonstrated entrepreneurial initiative in a variety of ways, including test scores, membership in civic organizations, such as Junior Achievement or the 4-H, or starting an enterprise of their own.

Applications will be accepted from Jan. 2 to March 15. Applicants must be nominated by a NFIB/Nevada small-business owner. For a list of members call 1-800-NFIB-NOW or visit

Carson RV Superstore, 4550 N. Carson St., was honored with the Fleetwood Circle of Excellence Award for 2005. This is the 14th year that it has been awarded the Circle of Excellence.

"This outstanding award belongs to all of our employees," said owner Kevin Johnson. "Each Carson RV employee is responsible for delivering the finest customer service in the area and this recognition from our customers shows we have been successful in providing the right kind of service."

Nevada earned the No. 2 ranking for business site selection in Expansion Management Magazine's annual Legislative Quotient ranking of state governments positive impact on the state's business climate.

The state's general business climate was evaluated in six areas that the Legislature influences, including general tax bit rank, debt management rank, infrastructure spending rank, five-year tax and spending trend rank, spending on government administration and right-to-work laws.

Gottschalks Inc. (NYSE:GOT) reported financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2005. Net loss for the third quarter was $1.6 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $1.5 million for the third quarter of FY 2004. For the first nine months of FY 2005, the company reported a net loss of $3.4 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, versus a net loss of $3.5 million reported for the comparable period last year. launched a new site combined with former SBC and BellSouth allows browsers to search by keyword, business name or business type for local results. Consumers can also search for residential phone numbers and conduct reverse telephone look-up to find a person.

Mary Kay Inc. awarded Ann Dankworth a silver 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix and Jann Fargnoli a pink 2006 Cadillac De Ville.

Senior Director Fargnoli, of Minden, has been a director for 22 years and has been driving free Mary Kay cars for 20 years. Her sales unit has more than 100 independent sales consultants located in 10 states.

Director Dankworth, of Carson City, has been with Mary Kay since August 2002 and became a sales director in April 2003. She has qualified for two free cars.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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