Financial Donations
  • Charities need two things:  Your time, and your money.  
  • Americans gave nearly $300 billion to charitable causes in 2006.  Individual donors gave 75%, with bequests raising it to 83%.  The largest amount was $97 billion to religious organizations.  The second largest was $41 billion to education, including gifts to colleges, universities and libraries.  About 65% of households with incomes less than $100,000 give to charity.  (“Americans set record in charitable giving,” The Spokesman-Review, June 25, 2007)
  • Bill Gates spoke at Spokane St. George's high school graduation in June 2007, and stated that, “This divide between the rich and poor is one of humanity’s greatest failings… Complexity, rather than lack of compassion, keeps people from knowing what to do.”  He charged students to adopt an issue and spend time each week researching it and informing others.  “Don’t let the complexity stop you.  Use your time and intelligence to cut through it.” 
    (Parker Howell, staff writer at The Spokesman-Review,
    https://www.sgs.org/data/files/News/SchoolNews/SR_Article__Gates_tells_seniors_to_fight_inequity_6907.pdf)
  • Donating money to charity activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure.  That good feeling you get by writing a check to a charity helps people feel good knowing that they are a charitable giver.  Charitable donations seem to increase activity in brain areas called the nucleus accumbens and the caudate nucleus, according to a University of Oregon team of psychologists and economists.  (Chicago Tribune, June 2007, Brain-imaging study links charity, pleasure)
What You Can Do
  • Choosing a Charity.   For information on monetary donations and charitable deductions, see “Choosing a Charity” on this website. 
  • Give a financial donation to an individual who will shop/sew for a charity.  Children love to purchase school supplies for needy children.  
  • Donate change to the charity collection jars on many store check-out counters.  
  • Set up a donation jar for family, friends, schools, or businesses to donate their pocket change to a specific charity.  
  • Teach your children, or others, a class on budgeting or money management.  
  • Put cash in a Christmas card.   (December 2006 – a Woman handed out Christmas cards containing cash to the passengers on Spokane’s city buses, greeting them with a “Merry Christmas” before quickly exiting the bus, knowing she was changing someone’s day.  These gifts of cash were something people didn’t have to ask for, apply for, or stand in line for.)   
  • Help fight poverty by starting a perpetual employment fund.  Help the poor to help themselves by making short-term loans to people to help them get an education or learn job skills.  This would be a loan, not a gift, which the receiver would be expected to repay with interest.  When the money is returned, it would then be given to another person, and so on.  (This is similar to the Habitat for Humanity program in Spokane, which builds homes mostly with volunteer labor, and sells them to eligible families at cost with 0% interest mortgages.  Monthly mortgage payments are recycled back into the program to purchase building materials for new homes for others.)