Big-hearted Americans continue to make the U.S. the most philanthropic nation in the world, according to the newest World Giving Index. Consistent with that finding are the recent announcements by super-profitable tech companies that they are making megabuck contributions to worthy causes.
Apple, for example, announced earlier this month that it has earmarked $2.5 billion to address the housing crisis in California. Apple is the latest technology company to address the shortage of affordable housing in locations where the tech boom has priced housing out of reach for average families. Facebook, Google and Microsoft announced earlier this year that they would contribute another combined $2.5 billion to build inexpensive housing in the state.
But perhaps the most revealing statistic that recognizes America’s generosity is the one that shows the lion’s share of contributions comes from individual donors, not big corporations.
The National Philanthropic Trust’s most recent Charitable Giving report shows that in 2018, total contributions to charitable organizations in the U.S. amounted to $427.71 billion.
But what is important to note in the NPC report is that most of the money given to charitable causes – $292.09 billions of it – came from individuals, more than a quarter trillion dollars, with the average American family giving more than $2,500 on average.
It should be noted that in addition to the traditional methods of making contributions to worthy causes, the Internet has given rise to a new way to give. It’s called “crowdfunding” and Websites such as GoFundMe.com now give donors the ability to send money to those in need with the click of a mouse.
According to some estimates, since the creation of crowdfunding tens of millions of us have used these sites to donate billions of dollars to worthy causes. As one might expect, it’s become the method of choice for younger generations. At least 46 percent of millennials and 45 percent of Gen Xers use these Web services to make donations to charitable causes.
Thanksgiving day is not too far away and each and every day more people are digging into their pockets to aid their neighbors giving us all cause to say thank you. They are saying ‘thanks’ to our armed forces and first responders who risk their lives to protect the rest of us by donating to organizations that cater to those who serve. And, when there is need for disaster relief, they seek out those entities created to alleviate the impact on victims. They support medical research to find cures for debilitating diseases and reach out to help the homeless. They stand ready when there is a need.
Meanwhile, The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that one in five senior citizens in this country are still working.
The term ‘retirement age’ may become irrelevant in the 21st century. For one thing, modern medicine is giving seniors a second wind, making them healthy enough to continue working. Technology is making it easier for them to stay on the job. But, perhaps the biggest reason for not retiring, is the fact that the rising cost of living makes it more difficult to live on a fixed income.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than a third of men and women between the ages of 65 and 69 and at least 19 percent of those 70 to 74 years of age are still on the job. And, the NCOA reports that 69 percent of senior citizens say they continue to work for economic reasons.
And, among those reasons, perhaps, is that they have a strong desire to continue living in their current homes as they grow old.
Dan Weber is President of The Association of Mature American Citizens (https://www.amac.us), a senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. They act and speak on members’ behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.