This week, we’re diving into a four-part series on philanthropy in the U.S. Discover insights into philanthropy in prisons, long-held traditions of philanthropy from African Americans, and philanthropy in rural America.
Each day for the rest of this week, we’ll post a new blog in the series.
Throughout the past two years, I’ve seen philanthropy in many different places.
I saw it in Germany and the Netherlands, as the study abroad program learned about formal and informal philanthropy through our interactions with German and Dutch thought leaders and nonprofit practitioners, and from volunteering in various capacities.
I found it throughout my vacation in England and Scotland, where philanthropy ranged from small donation jars at store counters to museum wings to women during World War I raising money for ambulances.
I’ve had conversations with people from China, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Austria, Iran, Mexico, Hungary, Palestine, Romania, Pakistan, and more working in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector – philanthropy is alive in these places and there are practitioners and community members dedicated to improving it and engaging people in those countries with it.
Philanthropy has stood out to me in those places. But I’m reminded every day that philanthropy thrives at home, in the United States as well.
I’ve seen it, from Facebook fundraisers to volunteering in the community. I’ve seen large gifts create waves, and small gifts make a difference. I’ve seen informal philanthropy, through giving time or testimony. I even had a friend who took part of her wedding reception to have everyone sing “Happy Birthday” and give a piece of cake each to my husband and me, a very generous act of giving time and treasure on one’s special day.
I’ve talked to numbers of students and alumni, passionately engaged with issues far and wide and dedicated to improving lives and the world.
The school’s research team and faculty research aims to shed light on philanthropy inside and outside of the U.S., helping us better understand the environment for giving, why people give and volunteer, and how we encourage more of it.
I see generosity everywhere, and that gives me hope.
I hope that this small series shines a light on philanthropy and generosity in places we may not know, but places where it’s vital for us to see how actions can create and foster change.
Philanthropy is not perfect, and it never will be, but we hope that this short series shows its power, its impact, and its hope.