Independence, MO – Giving USA released its 2010 charitable giving report earlier this summer, and it’s official: Notwithstanding tough economic times, the United States gave 3.8 percent more in 2010 than it did the previous year.
The annual report, which tabulates and interprets the country’s charitable giving from individual, foundation and corporation tax returns, is the barometer of the health of our nation’s third sector. The fact that donors gave more last year than in 2009 despite a continued sense of economic uncertainty speaks volumes about the nature of our nation’s philanthropic spirit.
One need look no further than Eastern Jackson County for several great examples:
• Community Services League, which delivered safety net social services to more than 20,000 families in 2010 across Jackson County, will soon complete its $2.75 million capital campaign. The successful fundraising initiative, which secured significant gifts from the Hall Family and Mabee foundations, made its goal in one of the toughest fundraising periods in the last century.
Later today, CSL supporters will gather at the Cotillion in Blue Springs for the second annual Coalition of Women Helping Children’s Tea with Bess. Last year’s event raised more than $11,000 to support the Children’s Corner in CSL’s new Central Resources Building, and more than $7,000 already has been committed by the more than 225 women who will attend today’s event.
• Just west of 435 off Truman Road, Kansas City Rescue Mission recently undertook a campaign of equal importance. KCRM, which has historically served homeless men, has taken on the challenge of providing much-needed beds for vulnerable, homeless women in metropolitan Kansas City. With just 64 beds for such women across our community, KCRM has mounted a quick and effective campaign to raise more than $5 million to renovate and equip a former church into a women’s center and make improvements to its current facility at 1520 Cherry St. In just four months, the campaign has secured more than $1 million in gifts and pledges from the Hall Family Foundation and other generous individuals and institutional donors.
• Less than an hour south of Kansas City, NewBeginnings Women’s Center is enjoying similar fundraising success. The Warrensburg organization, which provides educational and support services to expectant mothers, has experienced a surge in demand in recent years. To meet the rising need, NewBeginnings recently purchased the land adjacent to its clinic and is raising $600,000 as part of a $940,000 integrated campaign to expand its current facility and reconfigure the existing one. Just seven months into the drive, volunteers are more than halfway to their goal and recently secured a $120,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation in Tulsa.
These and other examples, along with the data recently published by Giving USA, highlight the power of philanthropy in the United States. Those who give aren’t motivated primarily by tax deductions and a desire to give away excess income; they’re inspired to support the important services of essential organizations in their communities.
The resilience of our nation’s philanthropic spirit impacts each of us. It instills confidence that our nation’s commitment to helping others is stronger than its desire to look out only for itself. And it motivates us join the rising tide of philanthropy by personally supporting organizations important to us.