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Australia’s spot on the top of the list of the world’s most generous donor countries reflects its citizens’ “very big hearts,” said the head of the nation’s Catholic aid agency, Caritas. The survey of 153 countries compiled by the British-based Charities Aid Foundation found 70 percent of Australians had given money to a charity. Australians “see the fundamental need of people in poverty throughout the world,” said Jack de Groot, chief executive officer of Caritas Australia. “Even through the time of the global financial crisis, Australians were still generous.” Released Sept. 8, the World Giving Index placed Australia and New Zealand first, with Canada and Ireland tied for third, the United States fifth and the United Kingdom eighth. Australians give approximately $800 million (US $741 million) a year to all international aid agencies. Caritas Australia receives about 3 percent of that, with more than 50 charities benefitting.

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