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Please Share Your Thoughts - Are Americans Becoming Less Charitable?
October 25, 2021
The question’s not if we will weather this unknown, but how we will weather the unknown together.
-Amanda Gorman, first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate
According to an article in the Giving Square newsletter (available for free access), Americans are becoming less charitable.

The Giving Square, a nonprofit organization whose mission “advances the democratic ideals of equality and civic responsibility by recognizing children as leaders for a new model of philanthropy, one grounded in our natural empathetic connections to the experiences and needs of others,” quotes a study by Indiana University that reports:

  • “‘The share of American households that donate to charity has been steadily declining since the Great Recession.’
  • Giving rates decreased across all racial groups.
  • While giving decreased across age groups, it decreased at a higher rate for younger Americans.
  • These changes could be attributed to ‘declining trends in empathy, compassion, and interpersonal trust.’”

We want to hear from you, readers of ExchangeEveryDay and Exchange magazine. What has your experience been? Has charitable giving to the early childhood field declined recently – or not? Please post your thoughts in the comments. Thank you.


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Comments (7)

Displaying All 7 Comments
Tiffany Peckham · October 27, 2021
Lincoln, NE, United States

Thank you all for sharing! I enjoyed hearing yours thoughts on giving time instead of or in addition to money. That is so valuable.

-Tiffany at Exchange

Martha Aguiar · October 27, 2021
Tampa, Florida, United States

The people I know and am around are very generous but distrustful of institutional giving. People want to know they are making a difference with their giving and will support an ask if they know what it is for or what it will do for those in need. People will support what they believe in and those they trust.

Francis Wardle · October 25, 2021
Center for the Study of Biracial Children
Denver, Colorado, United States

I try very hard NOT to give charities my money: I'd rather give time or expertise. The reason I try not to give is that they ALL sell my phone number to other charities,and then I get inundated with span phone calls. This is not only very annoying, but it destroys trust I have with the original group that I donated to.

Juan Pazmino · October 25, 2021
faces sf
san francisco, California, United States

As a society, we have become less tolerant of the dysfunction of our government and its inability to govern. As a result, households are reluctant to donate when the government's dishonesty and dysfunction are clearly evident; families must pause and reflect before donating or investing in communities in need.

Patricia Rackliffe · October 25, 2021
Westport Weston Cooperative Nursery School
Westport, CT, United States

While we work mostly with young families, we find that they are very generous with monetary contribution to fundraisers or for specific needs. We find they are less generous with their time. Finding those to work on a committee or to take a place on our Board is much harder than it used to be. We have families that will make the "opt out" contribution of $500 rather than participate in volunteer efforts.

Emily Mae Milbauer · October 25, 2021
Denver, Colorado, United States

In the programs I have worked in I have not seen this. I think while there is a decline in charitable giving overall, my programs continue to receive donations because they have a personal connection to the families. Money may be tight so if they can give they want to give where they can see the impact and possibly benefit from it themselves. Personally, I still give when I can but less consistently than I have in the past. The high cost of living and low pay of ECE mean that I don't always have money to give monthly like I did in the past.

Cathy Meyer · October 25, 2021
Hiawatha, Iowa, United States

I feel there has been a trend of less for the early childhood field for the past 10 years. It is becoming a crucial time for our field with the pandemic also causing closures when we were already in crisis.

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