As Americans, we have a rich tradition of charitable giving. According to Giving USA, a standard for measuring charitable contributions, charitable giving revenue grew 4.9% in 2013, the largest gain since the 2008 recession as Americans gave more than $335 billion.
The spirit of philanthropy in St. Louis and throughout the United States is alive and well. Most of those contributions come from individual people just like you and me. In 2013, gifts from individuals accounted for 72 percent of all giving. When you factor in an additional 8 percent in charitable contributions from bequests, individuals account for 80 percent of all giving in the U.S.
Quite simply, people give to people. More specifically, people make charitable gifts to people who work in organizations that are carrying out a mission that is aligned with the donor’s personal values. It is a donor and an organization coming together around shared beliefs and values for making the world a better place. Many times we give because our lives have been personally impacted by the organizations receiving our donation.
To illustrate this, I want to share a story with you about Susan, who represents the people our staff and dedicated volunteers work with every day…
When Susan first walked into our Oasis center four months ago she said, “Time flies.” It seemed just like yesterday that her children were little and needed her, and that she was highly respected in her career. The last year, however, was one of great change.
Susan’s husband of 38 years passed away, her son accepted a new job out-of-state, and her daughter is so busy with her family and career that she seldom sees her. Plus, most of her close friends are still busy with their careers and families.
Susan sighed, “For the first time in my life, I actually feel lonely.”
Today, just four months after she first walked through our doors at Oasis, Susan has a renewed sense of purpose. She works with a young girl named Sasha each week as an Oasis tutor.
“Sasha was struggling to read and keep up in school. Since we started working together, I have already noticed a big leap in her confidence and she is starting to enjoy reading. She needs me and in a way, I need her.”
Susan also takes a yoga class every Friday at Oasis, where she has made some great friends and is even going to be taking a local history tour with some of them next month.
“Before I found Oasis, there were days when I would literally see no one, speak to no one. I can honestly say that Oasis brought joy, friendship and optimism back into my life. Because of Oasis I enjoy living again.”
As we approach the end of the year, I encourage you to consider making a gift to the charitable organization that most closely aligns with your values and beliefs.
If you saw a little of yourself in Susan, I also hope you will consider remembering Oasis as you make your year-end charitable giving decisions. Your gift today will help ensure that the people who walk through our doors will be connected to new friendships, new challenges, and new meaning.
If you are encouraged to make a gift to Oasis, it would be a great benefit to us if you consider becoming a Sustaining Donor by making a monthly gift. For example a gift of $100 spread over the next twelve months is just $8.33 a month, yet means so much to our success. To make a recurring gift, or a one-time donation if you prefer, please visit us online at www3.oasisnet.org/donate.
Thank you for being part of our country’s rich tradition of philanthropy, and for considering a donation to Oasis during this year-end giving season.