As we enter the holiday season of this unusual year, people naturally start to think about ways to give back and to support our communities. Businesses may adopt a family for the holidays. Or they may collect canned goods for the local food banks. As a nation we tend to be a generous people, as shown by the latest annual report on philanthropy by Giving USA.
It shows that in 2019, charitable contributions rose across the board. The report shows that the past three years (2017, 2018 and 2019) have been the highest.
Where does the generosity come from?
Giving USA, the longest-running report of its kind in America, is published by the Giving USA Foundation. It is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
According to the report, the biggest “winners” in the giving game in 2019 were (as adjusted for inflation):
The report was released in June and noted, “The economic impact of COVID-19 in 2020 makes it hard to predict future giving trends. However, the flood of generosity in response to the pandemic and calls for racial equity nods to a shift in charitable giving. The increased level of civic engagement around social justice and equity issues indicates it is very likely that the percentage of funding going to human service organizations will increase over time.”
On a local level, there are many ways to support our local gems. Consider buying a gift certificate to the Lansing Symphony Orchestra to be used for a future performance. The arts and its performers were hit hard this year. Buy an annual pass to Potter Park Zoo as a family gift this year. Donate to food banks. My local church offers a food cupboard — and because it serves so many of our international residents, there are often requests for donations of spices. Clear out unused toys and donate those early in the month so that those parents desperate for an affordable toy can be delighted by the selection at the resale stores. And let’s breathe a sigh of relief for getting through this challenging year.
Here’s to 2021.