When Warren Buffett’s staggering donation of $36.1 billion was added to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s coffers (which already had $30 billion), many proclaimed this to be a new golden age of philanthropy, harkening back to the days of the Rockefeller, Mellon, and Carnegie endowments of countless worthy causes across a broad spectrum of American life. Yet, just a few years later, we are in an economic recession with the contributions of wealthy local residents now shrinking. Some generous donors were hard hit by the Madoff scandal, many others have had major losses in real estate or because of the stock market’s broad decline. As the local supply of capital has fallen for both individuals and private foundations, the need for philanthropy has correspondingly increased. Plus, much giving was directed towards political campaigns in 2008, with many charitable contributions taking a backseat to the historic election. But the tide will turn again.