Give Local Piedmont is next Tuesday

38 worthy Rapp nonprofits participating

By Dede McClure
Special to the Rappahannock News

Today, we have many words that express the meaning of philanthropy: benevolence, altruism, charity, brotherly love. What many of us, who have worked in the philanthropic or nonprofit sector, spend our time discussing and analyzing is why people give. What is it in people that sparks the sense to give?

The concept of philanthropy can be traced back thousands of years to Babylonian times. For instance, the Babylonians created laws to protect the weak from the strong. Poetry from this era, like “Gilgamesh,” heralded the ideas of self sacrifice and generosity.

Northern Piedmont Community Foundation board members and staff include Rappahannock residents Jane Bowling-Wilson, NPCF executive director (red jacket), Rick Lessard (tan jacket, front left), and Craig Batchelor (green jacket, rear center). Rappahannock board members Todd Summers and Peter Nguyen aren’t pictured. Courtesy Photo

Brittany Dwyer, a lifelong Rappahannock County resident, and a millenial, believes giving is a habit. We tend to associate habits negatively. However, we may engender good habits every single day. Brittany was a junior in high school when she first learned the word philanthropy. In her words, “that should not be a word I am just learning in high school.” She believes early education in “giving” would be a thoughtful and productive path for communities to embark.

Brittany’s own career in nonprofit had its roots in volunteering and working at Headwaters, an educational nonprofit in Sperryville. Several years later she came to Northern Piedmont Community Foundation. Today, Brittany is pursuing a Master’s in the mental health field, having left NPCF last year to begin work at the Mental Health Association, an active participant in Give Local Piedmont since its inception in 2013.

Millennials, recently redefined by the Pew Research Center as those born between 1981 and 1996, in general do well with giving. One in four Americans is a millennial. Half of all millenials donate to crowdfunding campaigns, like Give Local Piedmont — 64 percent volunteer locally and 84 percent give to charity.

Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1980, are 20 percent of the U.S. population and give at about the same rate as Millenials. Gen X are more likely to fundraise on behalf of a cause.

Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are 23 percent of the U.S. population and are more likely to volunteer time. While the boomers are learning and responding to technology and online giving, they may still respond more readily to a direct mail campaign for giving than GenX or Millennials.

And our Greatest Generation, those born between 1928 and 1945, who comprise 12 percent of the U.S. population, give more frequently than the younger generations. This segment represents 26 percent of total giving. And like the boomers, they prefer direct mail.

And finally, the data shows that in hard economic times, the wealthier give less and the poor give more. Americans giving below the poverty line are more likely to donate 10 percent of their earnings to charity.
Brittany’s generation and their giving trends, in fact, bode well for the future of philanthropy.

All of us a Northern Piedmont Community Foundation ask that you consider donating this Tuesday, May 7, beginning at midnight until 11:59 p.m. (or you may pre-schedule a donation online now).

NPCF Executive Director Jane Bowling-Wilson, a Rappahannock County resident, encourages everyone to please visit givelocalpiedmont.org and learn about the 177 participating nonprofits in Rappahannock, Culpeper, Fauquier and Madison counties. Since the first Give Local Piedmont day in 2013, $3.8 million has been raised for our local nonprofits. Much of that money was raised with $10, the minimum contribution.

“Philanthropy is not only for the wealthy. Philanthropy is defined as ‘the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.’ The desire to ‘promote the welfare of others’ makes it clear that Give Local Piedmont is an opportunity for everyone  to contribute with a minimum donation of $10 or more and feel really good about supporting a cause they care about,” says Bowling-Wilson.

A total of 38 Rappahannock County nonprofits are participating this year in fields as varied as elder and hospice care, cat rescue and river cleanups, and public schools and adult education.

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