President Obama and his wife, Michelle, donated $329,000 to 40 charities in 2009, according to the White House blog.

The Obamas' tax returns were made public April 15, a White House tradition. They showed a focus on health and education charities, such as the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the Illinois Reading Council and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Their typical donation was $5,000 or $10,000. The largest gifts, $50,000, went to the United Negro College Fund and CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.

The contributions amounted to 6 percent of the $5.5 million adjusted gross income reported by the Obamas, who filed a joint return. The vast majority of their income came from the sale of the president's books.

In addition, Obama donated his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize to 10 charities. For the record, that did not count as income, nor as a charitable deduction, the website said.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, gave $4,820 in cash and goods in 2009, or 1.5 percent of their adjusted gross income of $333,100, according to the White House.

So how does that compare with President George W. Bush? The Chronicle of Philanthropy has reported that George and Laura Bush donated $165,600 to churches and charitable organizations in 2007, the last year that such information is available.

That amounted to nearly 18 percent of their adjusted gross income of $936,000, according to the Chronicle.

The Bushes' charities included the Crawford Volunteer Fire Department in their Texas hometown, St. John's Episcopal Church, near the White House, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, contributed $166,500 to charity in 2007, reported the Chronicle, adding no information was available on their charitable choices. Their donations amounted to 5.5 percent of their adjusted gross income of $3.05 million that year.

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511