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In the News: Giving USA 2021 in the Media 

As the chair of the Giving USA Foundation and principal and founder of Benefactor Group, Laura MacDonald penned an Op-Ed recently published in the Columbus Dispatch, More money than ever was donated in 2020, but is that the best we can do? In the piece, she challenges, “Because philanthropy is healthiest when it is most democratic, we must work toward policies that empower all to give generously — not just the wealthy.”

In its review of the Giving USA 2021 data, Giving Grew in a Tumultuous Year but Not for All. What’s Ahead in 2021?, the Chronicle of Philanthropy notes that philanthropic giving in 2020 was as complex as the year itself, which saw a global pandemic upturn in daily life, prolonged but uneven economic fallout, and renewed attention to civil rights and racial justice.

In the Associated Press article, Charitable Giving in the U.S. Reaches All-Time High, charitable giving in the United States was galvanized by the racial justice protests and the coronavirus pandemic, reaching a record $471 billion in 2020. Laura MacDonald, however, notes that, “It is important to recognize that the picture for individual households and organizations may have looked quite different, with many facing hardship even though total giving posted strong growth.”

Charitable Giving Set Record in 2020: Report by ThinkAdvisor breaks down the numbers found in Giving USA 2021 by segment, with Laura MacDonald sharing that while there was a significant increase in the demand upon nonprofit organizations, “remarkably, generous giving coupled with the stock market turnaround in the final months of the year boosted contributions.”

Barron’s quotes Laura MacDonald from the Giving USA 2021 press conference in its review of the report, Charitable Giving in the U.S. Rose 5.1% to a Record US$471.44 Billion in 2020. She notes, “Some sources of philanthropy are shaped by the performance of equity markets. Therefore, giving from individuals and from foundations both saw strong growth. Other sectors are more sensitive to GDP and corporate pre-tax profits. Hence the decline in giving by corporations.”

The Chronicle of Philanthropy looks at the impact of the temporary charitable deductions in its article, Value of Charitable Deduction for All Americans Still Unclear. In it, Laura MacDonald weighs in, “Certainly there were households that gave $300 gifts because of [the deduction], but many households that took advantage of it would likely have given anyway.” She goes on to say, “At that point, all we’ve done is diminish the Treasury because those gifts would have been in the charitable economy anyway.”

In its recent article, ‘There was extraordinary generosity’ — Americans gave a record $471 billion to charity in 2020, MarketWatch notes that the record amount of charitable giving was fueled both by people’s desire to ease others’ suffering and because of the stock market’s rebound in the second half of the year.

Americans Gave a Record $471 Billion to Charity in 2020, and Fast Company notes that it was the pandemic, job losses, and racial justice that drove an increase in charitable giving from the previous year, despite the economic effects of COVID-19.

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