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Other Charity
Purchaser: Nonprofit groups
Program: Health care charity

Description: Some nonprofit groups help pay for medical services.

United Way
The United Way represents a wide variety of nonprofit groups and provides a centralized means of collecting and distributing donations. One national study by the United Way estimated that about 21.5 percent of the $2.5 billion raised in 1996–$531 million–was spent on health care. If Texas United Way organizations spent an amount proportionate to Texas population on health care, they spent about $38 million in 1996.

United Way organizations spend money on health-related services that include physical and mental health and developmental disabilities programs. Among these are well-baby clinics, organ and tissue banks, and medically supervised physical fitness. Services also include medical diagnosis and treatment, skilled nursing care, both inpatient and outpatient, skilled nursing facilities, and community clinics.

Other health-related services include family planning, health education, rehabilitation for people with disabilities, community mental health maintenance and treatment, and services for the mentally retarded and those with AIDS/HIV.

There are more than 44,000 foundations in the United States. About one third hold more than $1 million in assets or make more than $50,000 yearly in donations. In the last year of record, foundations gave away nearly $16 billion in grants for a wide variety of purposes. A survey of the largest 1,000 foundations reported that 17 percent of their spending was on health. If Texas’ share of this total was proportionate to its population and health, it would mean that foundations spent about $190 million on health care in Texas. This amount is not included in the Texas health care spending total.

Hospital Conversions
Some nonprofit hospitals that have converted to for-profit hospitals have established foundations to distribute funds for health care. Thirteen foundations were created or reorganized as a result of changes in hospital ownership. Only four distributed funds in fiscal 1998. These funds are not included in this study. Additional charity spending does exist but was not able to be captured for this report.

Total: An estimated $38 million in 1996 from United Way organizations

Source: United Way of America, Texas Consumer’s Union