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News

Report: Fewer Americans Are Donating to Charity

A new report released by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Vanguard Charitable shows that the number of Americans who donate to charity has dramatically decreased in recent years.

The report, titled “Changes to the Giving Landscape,” reveals that 53% of Americans gave to charity in 2016, down from 66% in 2000. Put another way, approximately 20 million fewer households are donating to charity than they did 20 years ago.

“This shift is due to lower-income and lower-wealth Americans experiencing the slowest economic recovery since the Great Recession, during years when the cost of other items such as food, education, and healthcare have increased,” said Vanguard Charitable President Jane Greenfield. “This has led to a decrease in the share of income available to give to charity.”

The authors of the report noted that millennials in particular are less likely to give to charity than older generations, which is likely due to having “the misfortune of entering the workforce during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

Data shows that baby boomers and those belonging to Generation X, for example, gave more to charity over time as their income increased. However, the same did not hold true for millennials.

“There’s a general trajectory that as you get older your income grows and your giving grows,” said Una Osili, co-author of the report and associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly School. “With millennials we haven’t seen that same pattern.”

But that’s not the only reason Americans are giving less. The other big factor is religion.

Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center show 26% of Americans now identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular,” compared to 17% in 2009. Why does that matter? Because researchers at Baylor University found that religious people are more likely to give to charity.

“Religious organizations have traditionally gotten the lion’s share of Americans’ charitable dollars,” MarketWatch notes.

Click here to read the full report.

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Advice

Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty if You Can’t Afford to Donate

A lot of people find themselves asking, “When is the right time to donate?” The answer is simple: when all of your needs are taken care of first.

If that sounds selfish, allow us to explain why it’s not.

As a society, we’ve been conditioned to put others’ needs above our own. But when you sacrifice your personal necessities in the name of others, you’ll end up feeling stressed, dissatisfied, and unfulfilled.

Generosity is not supposed to make you feel that way. Giving to others is supposed to make you feel inspired, joyful, and exuberant. And the only way you’ll be able to experience those positive vibes is to give from a place of love rather than guilt.

If you’re not doing well financially, chances are you already feel bad about your situation. Don’t compound those feelings of guilt by giving away money that you don’t have.

And for the record, there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first. In fact, in survival situations, it’s a necessity. Just think about how airlines encourage passengers to put their own oxygen masks on first before helping others.

Put another way, think about this quote from Eleanor Brownn:

“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve others on an empty vessel.”

If giving is your passion even though it’s not financially feasible to do so now, then use your current misfortunate as motivation to earn more income. In other words, it’s time to set some goals. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much money do I need to be making in order to cover my own basic expenses?
  • How much money would I like to give to charity?
  • What are some ways that I can increase my earnings?
  • What is a realistic timeline that I can set for myself to accomplish my financial goals?

Remember: just because you cannot donate now doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to. Your current predicament is not your permanent predicament. There’s always room change, grow, and donate in the future.

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News

Why it Feels So Good to Give

Giving Tuesday
You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get after doing something kind for someone else? Science says that giving to others actually gives people a boost of happiness, not unlike a runner’s high! / IMG: via Shutterstock

Tis the season of gift giving! Sure, Christmas may be over, but many people still find themselves heading to a few holiday parties scattered throughout the month. It’s always fun to open presents, but it turns out that being generous and giving gifts to others can actually give you a boost of happiness too. One study that was published in 2009 suggested that being on the receiving end of generosity can trigger a release of oxytocin, which is a hormone commonly associated with feelings of love and trust.

While many of us believe that spending money on ourselves will make us happier, we actually get happier when we spend that money on others. When you spend money on others there is a physiological response that causes your brain’s pleasure and reward centers to light up as if you were the recipient of the good deed. You get an instant boost of feel-good endorphins, just like a runner’s high. In fact, when you do a single act of kindness, this can inspire others to do several more acts of generosity, because recipients of kindness are more likely to pass it forward.

Even if you can’t physically give a lot, start with a domino effect for the warm and fuzzy feelings. For example, maybe offer your seat to someone else on a crowded train or bus, pick up some trash on your walk home or try inviting a neighbor over for dinner. Before you run out and spend too much (more) money this season, try to be thoughtful and unique in your giving. For example, create an experience like a vacation or day trip for a loved one. Or maybe buy someone a cooking or music lesson, or tickets to a sporting event or concert.

Don’t be stingy this season (or ever!), as giving will give you a happy high.

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Organizations Resources

NYCHA 11-Year-Old Inspires Bone Marrow Givers

Tiffany Glasgow Bone Marrow
IMG: via nydailynews.com

Tiffany Glasgow is just eleven years old, but she lives in constant pain. She has sickle cell disease, as do her three brothers. Her older sister died of it when she was just a baby. Red blood cells assume an abnormal and rigid sickle shape in those who suffer from the disease, causing reduced cell flexibility and myriad complications.

But SCD is not without a cure—bone marrow transplants can be especially effective in children, and those that receive successful transplants can live a healthy and normal life. Potential donors need only complete a painleSss cheek swabbing to see if they are a match.

Tiffany’s story inspired NYCHA tenant leaders to set up a citywide bone marrow donor search. In a thriving city of eight million people, there’s a chance that someone there could be Tiffany’s perfect match—or someone else’s.

“It’s important,” Tiffany said of the drive. “They’ll give people a chance to live and feel better and do more stuff. It’s not just for me. It’s for other people that need marrow.”

The drives are slated to take place on May 4th at Melrose Classic Center (1-4 p.m.) and May 18th at Wyckoff Gardens (1-4 p.m.). Additional drives in Manhattan and Staten Island are currently being organized.

The initiative shown by residents is synonymous with NYCHA Chairman Rhea’s call for leadership from within. “Together we have accomplished so much to enhance our communities and support NYCHA’s families,” he said in a statement on the PlanNYCHA website. It looks like residents are taking that to heart.

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Organizations Resources

Young Philanthropy in New York

chelsea clinton
IMG: mistydawnphoto / Shutterstock.com

It seems like younger generations are getting more generous every year. Famous or not, rich or poor, young Americans are lending their time, money, and effort to a variety of philanthropic ventures. In New York City, the same is true, and this year the popular New York Observer will be honoring twenty philanthropists under 40 at a gala designed to raise philanthropic awareness.

The event, called “Young Philanthropy,” will honor a number of well-known names and faces in the NYC philanthropy scene. Let’s take a look at a few of the well-to-do winners:

Chelsea Clinton: The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Senator Hilary Clinton, nearly all of Chelsea’s life has been lived under the spotlight—and unlike so many of the young and famous, her image is pristine. Her charity work includes support for the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Walkabout Foundation.

Amanda Hearst: As heiress to her father’s media conglomerate, the Hearst Corporation, Amanda has a lot to live up to. She is a socialite, activist, model, and most recently is the associate market editor for Marie Claire. Amanda also founded Friends of Finn, which is a charity that fights inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills, and is an active member of Riverkeeper, an environmental nonprofit organization.

Alejandro Santo Domingo: Like Hearst (whom he coincidentally dated for several years), Alejandro is an heir. He and his two brothers, Andres Santo Domingo and Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Jr., are heirs the majority stake in SABMiller, a South American beer company. While his career revolves around managing the conglomerate, he is also a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees; is on the board for the international nonprofit group, Endeavor; is on the Latin American Conservation Council for The Nature Conservancy; and is on the Board of Directors for DKMS Americas.

Other honorees of the night include Lauren Bush, Jesse Cole, Alexis Feldman, Michelle Harper, Lydia Hearst, Eric Trump, and many more.

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Organizations Profiles Resources

Malala Fund Receives First Donation

Malala Yousafzai
IMG: via The Malala Fund

Malala Yousafzai is fifteen years old. Last year, the Taliban, who sought to silence her from speaking up for Pakistani women’s education rights, shot her in the head. They shot to kill, but Malala was stronger than they had reckoned—and she survived.

“Here’s what they accomplished,” said Angelina Jolie, who spoke at the recent Women in the World Summit in New York City. “They shot her point-blank range in the head—and made her stronger. The brutal attempt to silence her voice made it stronger.”

Malala, who was moved to England for recovery after she was shot, now attends school in Birmingham. But she hasn’t forgotten what it was like when she was in Pakistan. She formed Malala fund, an educational charity designed to help more women and girls become empowered and educated in Pakistan and around the world.

On Thursday, April 4th, Malala announced the first donation to the fund—$45,000. “Today I am going to announce the happiest moment of my life, and that is the first grant of Malala Fund,” Malala said in a recorded video announcement that played at the Women in the World Summit. “I invite all of you to support Malala Fund and let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls.”

The video was presented by Angelina Jolie, who pledged to give an additional $200,000 to the charity. The first grant will be given to a group in Malala’s homeland, the Swat Valley in Pakistan. It will help to educate forty girls between the ages of five and twelve who would otherwise be forced into domestic labor. By giving the girls a safe place to study as well as providing financial support to their families, Malala Fund paves the way for women’s education and empowerment in Pakistan. .

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Organizations Resources

Prom Goes On for Sandy Victims

prom
IMG: via Shutterstock.com

For victims of Superstorm Sandy, which hit New York City and much of the east coast in October 2012, saving up money for a prom dress is likely an unrealistic goal. Many families had their homes and lives shattered when the brutal storm hit, leaving them with nothing but their lives and the clothes on their backs. Homes and possessions were not among those spared, and rebuilding from the ground up has made life hard for many.

But for teenagers trying to move forward, prom isn’t something that is likely to be forgotten. Though they may be struggling through a personal hardship at home, that doesn’t take away the fact that for many, attending prom is a rite of passage. Girls who are juniors or seniors may have dreamed for the past few years about getting the perfect dress and having the time of their lives before they head off to college or work. But for the tens of thousands of families who are just trying to get their lives back together, being able to afford a prom dress isn’t likely to be something they can do.

That’s what the nonprofit group Where to Turn has decided to do something about. The group collected over a thousand prom dresses this year—and they plan to pass them all out to teens who had homes and cars destroyed during the storm. The dresses were collected not just from generous givers (individuals and businesses) in the New York area, but were also sent in from around the country.

And now that prom season is here, the group has started getting the dresses to those who need them. They held a free dress expo on Saturday, April 6th at a Staten Island high school. About 125 teenagers came to the event, perusing the gowns and choosing one to take home. There were also about 250 pairs of donated shoes and $5,000 in donated hair items from Conair. The dresses (all 1,000) had all been dry cleaned for free by a Staten Island dry cleaning company.

“Right now, people are rebuilding and they don’t have enough money to take care of the normal day-to-day things… things that, you know, kids really shouldn’t miss out on,” said Dennis McKeon, who is the Executive Director at Where to Turn. With hundreds more dresses to give away, McKeon says the group is working on organizing other free dress expos in hard hit areas like Queens and the Rockaways.