The recession of 2008 hit Americans hard – families were forced to cut back, homes were foreclosed, hardworking people lost their jobs. Budgets got tighter, and charitable giving shrank. Those who were once able to give to a local food bank or a national nonprofit either had to scale back on the amount of their donation or cease altogether.
However, what I love about the citizens of this country is our ability to bounce back in the face of adversity. And what’s more, is to come back stronger and above and beyond the original starting point. The Giving USA Foundation reported this week that charitable giving in the U.S. in 2014 totaled an estimated $358 billion, even more than the country’s pre-recession peak. In 2007, giving had reached $355 billion.
What’s even more encouraging is that this increase in giving happened faster than the Giving USA Foundation expected. “We know as the economy improved, things would get better. We were just not sure what that point would be,” said Keith Curtis, chairman of the Giving USA Foundation. Between 2013 and 2014, Americans dug a little deeper into their wallets and individuals, corporations, foundation and bequests increased giving by 7.1 percent.
Even when facing numerous bills and setbacks, people have continued to slowly donate more and more. It is important to remember, though, there is still work to be done! We are on the right track to helping our neighbors, influencing our communities, and changing our world – we can’t stop here. This week, I challenge you to strategize, re-evaluate, and consider how you can become more charitable. Whatever your situation, I encourage you to be inspired by our accomplishments in helping others thus far and allow that to propel you into the future with an even bigger heart for giving.