by Melanie Norton
In the wake of incessant political campaign advertising, it’s easy to feel like there is a huge divide in America.
Television commercials, radio programs, phone calls, and overstuffed mailboxes highlight the differences between candidates in an attempt to raise awareness and focus on the areas in which the opponents disagree.
The barrage of information about the things that differentiate us can seem overwhelming.
According to CNNMoney, The American Red Cross raised nearly $85 million in donations before November 5th in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. And approximately $23 million alone was secured during a benefit concert and telethon hosted on NBC, and another $16 million has been added to the total by ABC and Disney’s team event Day of Giving (on November 5th) for the Sandy relief efforts.
These efforts, among countless others both big and small, tell us this; Americans are still deeply united in philanthropy.
The 2012 Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, a collaborative study between Bank of America and The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, was recently released and reports a remarkable 94.5% of high net worth households gave to charity in 2011.
Although this figure may be slightly lower than the previous year, the study also shares that this group of donors – defined as those who have incomes of $200,000 or more, and/or a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding home value) – gave nearly 9% of their income and also volunteered more of their time in 2011.
In a time when there are many needs and many worthy organizations, information about the generosity of Americans is extremely encouraging.
Giving USA 2012 has estimated total giving in 2011 at an astounding $298.42 billion dollars, and the World Giving Index 2011, a survey released by UK-based Charities Aids Foundation in December 2011, ranks the United States as the most charitable nation in the world.
These studies are statistical confirmation of what we already know in our hearts…Americans can get behind an important cause and unite in making a difference.
Our client organizations strive to make the world a better place through their missions, no matter how different. Although the needs can be immediate and unforeseen, such as the devastation of Sandy, or more known and consistent like many of the not-for-profits we serve, the generosity of those they touch never ceases to amaze me.
Our nation is a generous one, even long after the commercials stop and the mails starts to slow, and the power of philanthropy can unite an America in all of its glorious diversity.