In 2018, major donors on the Chronicle of Philanthropy Top 50 listed gave $7.8 billion. That represents a marked decline from the $14.7 billion that the Top 50 gave in 2017.
Among the gifts:
- Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos gave $2 billion (two months before announcing their divorce).
- Michael Bloomberg gave $767 million for the arts, education, etc.
- Pierre and Pam Omidyar, eBay founders, gave $392 million to promote democracy, activism, etc.
- Twitter founder Evan Williams gave $100 million into his family foundation.
Who’s giving for faith?
Notably, as I look at the list, I’m troubled by how few big gifts go to causes of faith.
In a recent blog post, “Solve Poverty? First Understand the Poor,” I wrote about Chris Arnade’s new book featuring the faces and experiences of “back row Americans.” Among other things, he writes of the tremendous power of churches to meet the real needs of the poor, not just providing material help but also dignity and hope.
We can easily lose sight of the goal of giving in the big numbers, and even the big decline in giving.
But I think we should learn from people outside the philanthropic world, like Arnade, who spent countless hours listening to the marginalized in our cities.
We should ask the questions of how social ills are best solved. I believe we best address those matters at the intersection of faith and life’s difficulties.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
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Published July 12, 2019
Topics: Giving Trends