Last year's United Way campaign began just as the hurricanes slammed into the nation's coastline. There were concerns that the campaign wouldn't make goal, impacting local social and human service agencies.

The local campaign made goal while major relief efforts for the hurricanes, a major earthquake in Pakistan and the tsunami in Asia also met their funding needs, according to a report from the Giving USA Foundation. The organization estimated that in 2005, Americans gave $260.28 billion, an increase of more than 6 percent over the previous year.

The foundation, according to its Web site, said Americans donated $212 billion during 2001 and?$241 billion in 2003.

The Associated Press reports about half of the overall increase of $15 billion was directly related to victims of the three disasters. The rest of the increase, authorities said, may also be attributed to the disasters since it raised awarenesses of all charities.

Indeed, local service agencies made it known the numbers of Katrina, Rita and Wilma victims that they were seeing. The three national disasters generated about $7.37 billion. Individuals accounted for the biggest share of that amount.

The Foundation reported American philanthropy has risen to its highest levels since the end of the technology boom. Individuals accounted for about $199 billion and corporation donated another $13.77 billion. Corporate giving grew by more than 22 percent.

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