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Matt Beem
President and COO
Kinetic Fundraising, Inc.

Giving is again up, and those billions help a great deal

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Independence, MO – Philanthropy rebounded strongly in 2012, according to “Giving USA 2013: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the year 2012.”

The report released earlier this month confirms that 2011’s slight uptick in giving after two previous years of declines was more than just a one-time occurrence.

It marked the beginning of a trend.

What’s even more encouraging is that overall giving in 2012 rose 6.5 percent, nearly reaching 2008’s all-time giving high of $317 billion and paving the way for a range of forecasts on 2013 giving, which will be reported next June. I can’t wait to begin reading the predictions and prognostications.

What’s beneath 2012’s $316.23 billion in overall giving is telling of our nation’s positive philanthropic trajectory. Foundations comprised 15 percent of total giving last year, 4 percent more than in 2011.

Corporations gave 6 percent of all that was given in 2012. That’s an increase over 2011 of more than 12 percent.

Individuals, who have always given the lion’s share of U.S. philanthropy, gave 72 percent of all gifts last year. When you add bequests, which were seven percent of the 2012 philanthropic pie, the total jumps to 79 percent. Although outright giving from individuals rose nearly four percent between 2011 and 2012, bequests declined seven percent in the same period.

My experience helping nonprofits around the world – and right here at home – grow philanthropy affirms Giving USA’s recent report.

I worked earlier this week with the Boy Scouts of America Transatlantic Council, which is headquartered in Livorno, Italy and serves U.S. youth and adults living in 29 European nations. The council is raising $7 million to grow its endowment, sustain its operations and expand its programs.

On Friday, just before the first meeting of the council’s U.S. campaign cabinet in Washington, D.C., a donor committed $1 million to the campaign. When I interviewed him nearly a year ago during the pre-campaign study, he said he wanted to make a seven-figure gift but was concerned about the economy.

Those feelings were replaced this week by optimism in our financial future and his ability to create wealth through the companies he owns. As a result, he signed a letter of intent and consummated his campaign commitment.

Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association is experiencing strong campaign success right here in Eastern Jackson County. The organization, which recently moved from leased space into purchased offices, is raising money to renovate its new facility, expand its programs and strengthen its future.

Because MFCAA provides transitional housing, it qualifies for and received Missouri Affordable Housing Assistance Program tax credits. The potent credits directly offset Missouri income tax liability, can be used for up to six years and are fully transferable.

Through the generosity of individual and institutional donors, MFCAA sold all of its tax credits and has experienced a significant campaign boost. Supporters’ commitments to MFCAA’s mission and confidence in our economic future have had a positive impact on their philanthropic decisions.
Make no mistake: Philanthropy is a significant economic force. It equals about 2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product and leverages financial, in-kind and volunteer support for nonprofit organizations and the people they serve.

For each of them, this month’s positive giving news is encouraging. It strengthens confidence in the philanthropic sector and sustains our hope in its future.

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