Donors respond to 2020 troubles

Food security and social justice organizations see a major boost in charitable grants

With the challenges wrought by the pandemic, social unrest, wildfires, hurricanes and economic uncertainty, charitable need has rarely been as pronounced or as sustained as it has been through 2020.

But where there are troubles, one can look more closely and see helpers rushing to aid. In response to these many problems, the value of Raymond James Charitable grants have increased by approximately 45% – with a 68% increase in the number of grants made – including a 26% boost in the number of grants made to social service organizations. The latter has largely been driven by donors’ requests for grants to charities fighting the effects of COVID-19 and racial injustice.

The numbers suggest donors are continuing to give to other charitable sectors like faith, education and the environment, but have particularly increased their giving to social services. One industry group has said that donations to food-related charities has increased by more than 6.5 times. Organizations whose focus is on social justice for Black Americans have also seen an increase in donations.

It will be difficult to assess the year’s giving before the end of the year, but industry data show that Raymond James Charitable donors are ahead of the curve with their 45% increase in cash donations – among all donor advised funds cash donations have increased by approximately 35%.

Corporate giving has also increased, with seven out of 10 corporations saying they will increase their charitable contributions through 2020, the Philanthropy News Digest wrote.

Earlier this year, the charitable response was far from a sure thing and charitable organizations were preparing for the double punch of lower revenues and higher need at the start of the pandemic.

In May, a Gallup poll indicated charitable giving would be lower through 2020 than in prior years, but as the economic effects of the viral outbreak are better understood, it appears giving has made a strong return, according to a report by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University.

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