December 23, 2021

by Katelyn Videto, Former AAACF Philanthropic Services Manager

During a season of celebration and holidays, it’s easy for me to forget the intentions behind this time of year, when I’m checking off my shopping list and baking holiday cookies. But when I take a step back, I remember what I love about December: the true spirit of generosity.

“Generosity is the spirit and action of freely and frequently giving to others 1,” a definition that reflects the kind, unselfish, and understanding nature of our intentions to give back to the community. As a permanent source of philanthropic capital for Washtenaw County, the Community Foundation has supported the generosity of generations of donors and volunteers alongside the hundreds of local nonprofits.

Generosity is the spirit and action of freely and frequently giving to others.

When I look broadly across the country, the widespread giving is even more inspiring and encouraging, seeing how many people are giving to their communities:

  • Approximately 30% of adults in the United States volunteer their time and talent to make a difference.2
  • Crowdfunding grew 33.7% in 2019, with $17.2B raised in North America.3
  • This year, U.S. donors gave $2.7 billion on Giving Tuesday, a 9% increase over 2020.4
  • In 2020, individuals gave $324.1B in charitable donations – which continues to grow.5

Each of these statistics exemplifies what I teach in youth and family philanthropy sessions: philanthropy is the giving of your Time, Talent, and Treasure for the good of others. The “3 T’s” are a valuable mnemonic for easy recall of the ways to be generous – both for young people and the young-at-heart. I’ve also seen a recent expansion of this by 21/64 to include a 4th T, giving of your Ties, as a way to leverage your networks and connections to raise awareness and engagement.

As we wrap up 2021 and look to a bright 2022, I’m taking this as a moment to reflect on the continued generosity of our community, and I invite you to join me. Volunteering, donations, helping a neighbor, board service, advocacy, social media posts, random acts of kindness – no matter how your giving looks, it’s an essential part of our civil society and how we show a love of humankind.

Wishing you a generous and bright year ahead!

2. The Corporation for National and Community Service
3. Statista
4. The Chronicle of Philanthropy
5. Giving USA 2021 Annual Report