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Contributions by corporations and their foundations to charitable causes totaled some $6 billion in 1991, with $2.4 billion going to educational causes, according to a report from the Council for Aid to Education.

The overall figure grew just 2 percent over 1990, marking the fourth consecutive year of slow growth in giving. In the 12 previous years, the council reports, giving grew at an unprecedented average annual rate of 14.6 percent.

The trend in giving to educational causes mirrors the general picture, the council says, with growth slowing over the past four years.

Educational giving now makes up some 40 percent of philanthropic giving, up from 36 percent in 1962, according to the report.

As usual, higher education received most of the giving--$1.7 billion in 1991. Yet the council finds "continued evidence of increasing support for elementary and secondary education.'' Giving to precollege education has grown from 3 percent of the education total in 1961 to 13 percent--or $300 million--in 1991.

The report notes that that total does not include donations of time, facilities, or equipment, or contributions to youth-related and health programs that have an effect on schools.

Copies of the report, "Corporate Support of Education 1991,'' will be available late this month for $10 each from the Council for Aid to Education, 51 Madison Ave., Suite 2200, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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