Adam Gant is a committed philanthropist

Category: Charity

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3 Ways Charitable Giving Is Likely to Change in 2019


Humanitarian crises, natural disasters, disease outbreaks – the needs today as pressing as ever, but the way we give is evolving. Thanks to tax law and technology, along with changing consciousness and shifting social mores, philanthropy experts say there are notable shifts in where, when and how Americans open their wallets to charitable causes.


Below is what to expect in charitable giving trends in 2019.


Giving bigger donations, but less frequently.


Charities and non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, are watching carefully to see if the doubling of the standard deduction under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changes how – and how much – we give.


Our potential change is that people could switch to giving every other or every the third year instead of annually, a tactic called “bunching” that would let them itemize in their giving years to get the deduction and take the standard deduction in other years.


Using technology to mobilize support


If you feel like you’ve seen more notifications in your Facebook feed that someone is raising money for a good cause to celebrate a birthday or other milestone, you’re probably right.


This growth is a confluence of two trends. The desire of donors to personalize their giving, and advances in technology that makes giving, or asking others to give on your behalf, as easy as typing up a heartfelt message and hitting “enter.”


The growing clout of big donors (for better or worse)


People are going to top one-half of 1% will be giving about 30% of all charitable dollars. Although there is a drawback in that funding is funneled to a smaller pool of recipients or causes. This, combined with the proliferation of charities at the grassroots level, may leave smaller non-profits feeling pinched. Charities at these local levels are going to feel that they’re facing greater financial challenges in their fundraising, and the reason is that the number of charities continues to expand dramatically. The total amount of dollars can be given to any local charities still, and furthermore, they can be divided up more.

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Michelle Obama’s Program to Help Adolescent Girls Through Education

Thursday, October 11, 2018, was the International Day of the Girl. Michelle Obama, our former first lady, chose that specific day to announce on NBC’s “Today” show that the Obama Foundation was proud and thrilled to launch the Global Girls Alliance. That is a program to use education to empower adolescent girls all around the world.


The goal of the Alliance is to support over 1,500 grassroots organizations that combat the many challenges that girls encounter in their communities, stress the strategies needed to overcome those challenges, and clear away the hurdles that many girls face. Featured will be fundraising to inspire and accomplish the efforts and to drive public awareness to encourage involvement and action.


Created has been an online network that connects leaders so they can share ideas, resources, and best practices. In addition, GoFundMe has launched the Global Girls Alliance Fund that will directly support leaders who work on education for girls.


Over 98 million adolescent girls worldwide do not go to school, and this new program will offer ways for the public to support its mission. When girls have gone to school, families become stronger, poverty in the community goes down, GDPs go up, babies are born healthier, and the whole world gets better.


October 11 has been designated as the International Day of the Girl since 2012. António Guterre, the UN Secretary-General, said that we should recommit to the support of every girl in developing her skills, be able to enter the workforce on equal terms, expand her learning opportunities and new pathways, and be able to reach her full potential and empowerment.


Girls of today are being faced with preparing to enter a work world that is being transformed by automation and innovation that make skilled workers in great demand. However, approximately 25 percent of young people, mostly female, are presently not employed nor in training or education. Of the 600 million adolescent girls, out of the existing one billion young people who will enter the workforce in the coming decade, over 90 percent living in developing countries will be employed in the sector where no or low pay and exploitation are all too common.


The Alliance has marked the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together advocates who will draw attention and investment to the opportunities for girls to attain the necessary skills to adequately prepare them for a successful transition into the work world.

A Move Towards True Help: Understanding Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth

Philanthropy is a uniquely western invention. This act of service, which is practiced by many wealthy individuals in America, has manifested itself in a number of ways by a number of people. It has even produced a form of the original known as “philanthrocapitalism”, a term that is indicative of a process that has received intense criticism by some in the recent years.

But the conversation of how much the rich should give and what the motives behind their giving should be is not what’s in question with this article. Instead, it’s important we take a deeper look at the concept of philanthropy, what helping truly looks like, and how the 19th-century millionaire Andrew Carnegie can help point us in the right direction.

In 1889, Andrew Carnegie published an essay entitled, “The Gospel of Wealth.” Here, Carnegie gives the reader some great insight into not only the mind of a multi-millionaire but also into the psyche of a generous philanthropist. But perhaps the most controversial statement in this essay is Carnegie’s insistence that there are two types of poor people.

Carnegie saw and classified a difference between people who are poor due to circumstances largely outside of their control and people who are poor due to a lack of continued fiscal irresponsibility. While many have often misinterpreted his words and wrongly critiqued this argument as harsh, there is something of infinite value that is learned through this sentiment.

Carnegie, whether consciously or not in his essay, draws the philanthropic ventures of the rich into something much more profound than giving money. You see, Carnegie is not arguing that the rich give less, but that they actually give – of themselves – exponentially more. It’s easy for those with a lot of money to give a monetary gift. Not so easy though, is it to engage with a person and truly take into consideration their unique needs. Carnegie agues philanthropy is much more than giving money; it’s about truly helping someone and working to help instill a sense of self-dignity within them and to help instill the belief that they too are deserving of a fair shot in the marketplace of ideas.

In a world that often sees money as the currency of success, it can be difficult to parse through Carnegie’s thoughts. But diligence is the key to understanding, and it’s important we understand how to help our neighbor truly. It may not always be the most beneficial act to give money to everyone who asks. In fact, we may not always have the money to give. But we can always, one way or another, seek to help those in need. And at the heart of Carnegie’s argument is that we, as individuals, have to pay attention to the specific needs of those in distress. And that’s not always as simple as signing a check.

Beating Poverty with a Smartphone

Philanthropy is an ancient Greek word that roughly translates “to love mankind”. It doesn’t – contrary to the opinions of some – merely refer to the act of wealthy people writing checks. In the digital age of connection where communication with people halfway around the world can happen in a matter of seconds, the development of technologies that help to fight poverty is genuinely extraordinary.

Nowhere is this more evident than in our ability to support organizations from the comfort of our smartphones. Often, making a difference is just a click away. And while there is no substitute or better way to transcend our circumstances than by actively giving of ourselves and engaging with people, the simple fact that we can help, even in the smallest of ways, in such a quick and accessible manner is truly worth spotlighting.

Below are three great (free) ways you can help not only alleviate poverty but fight to eliminate it from the comfort of your home and the ease of your smartphone.

Pictures Against Poverty

Donate A Photo, an app by Johnson & Johnson, allows people to help fight poverty by simply taking a photo. This app is free and easy, and for every photo “donated” Johnson & Johnson will make a charitable donation of $1 towards the organization of your choice. Each person is allowed to upload one photo per day, which is an easy $365 given to charity through the course of a year, with no charge on account of the person snapping the selfies.

Walk for Water

Charity Miles is a free app that tracks your steps and donates money to a charity of your choice for each mile. It’s another great free app that provides you the chance to give while you also get your daily dose of exercise. One of the charities you can donate to is charity:water, an excellent philanthropic effort that provides clean drinking water to people who lack it. Currently, there are 800 million people who still do not have access to clean drinking water, and Charity Miles allows you to give to charities that are actively addressing that problem.

Helping Corporations Care

Tinbox is a free app that donates participating corporation’s dollars on behalf of your donation. The app is free, so all you have to do is log in, tap ‘donate’, and you are spending corporate dollars to help fight poverty. The app lets you give one dollar a day to a specific project a charity is working on, and it’s another creative and exciting way to ban together and help people.

For all of the complications that modernity has ushered in when it comes to fighting poverty, there are more ways than ever to help, even if it is in seemingly small ways. We all have the responsibility and opportunity to help our neighbor, and the above-mentioned apps, as well as many more, are indeed beneficial and edifying ways to do so.

Why Charity Can Only Take Us So Far

In an age that seems obsessed with social change, shouldn’t we be thrilled by the charity of others? It’s true, all the help that we give to those who are suffering is good and necessary. But I do fear that some of the push for change we see in the world is rooted out of a “knee-jerk” emotional desire for the world to change, as opposed to a solidified, strategic goal of embodying that change we so desperately wish to see.

This concept has recently led me to think about the difference between charity and philanthropy. To many, there doesn’t appear to be much of a difference. In fact, many view charity as the organizations that give money to those in need and philanthropy as something that famous people do to give back. But the truth is, you don’t have to be or know Bono or even be massively wealthy to be a philanthropist.

There are more to these concepts than we typically think, and I believe it’s vitally important we discuss the reasoning and outcomes of both.

What’s the Difference?

Charity is the change we leave in the jar in the hopes that change will come in the world. While giving to charities is an excellent cause (and there are many great charities), it’s often classified as something that is an emotional and momentary response to something we see or hear about in the world. In fact, Steve Gunderson, former president of the Council of Foundations, provides a helpful distinction between charity and philanthropy:

Charity tends to be a short-term, emotional, immediate response, focused primarily on rescue and relief, whereas philanthropy is much more long-term, more strategic, focused on rebuilding. There is charity, which is good, and then there is problem-solving charity, which is called philanthropy. – Steve Gunderson

Charity tends to focus on what we can do in response to something.

Philanthropy focuses on providing dignity and respect to the individual.

Buying a meal for someone who is without a home is a great thing to do, but seeking to help build them up as a contributing member of society is even better. For me, philanthropy aims to instill confidence, dignity, and a sense of purpose back into those that so many in society can often forget. Charity is to be encouraged and is still required. But we should also encourage people to continue past giving and enter into partnerships and relationships with organizations and with people.

All are worthy of love, equity and respect. And for me, that’s what philanthropy is.

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