I’m optimistic for our nation in this new year and decade. Americans broke new records with their charitable giving last year. Early estimates are that we, as a society, gave about $430 billion in 2019. Your personal generosity was reflected in the growth of the Impact Fund in 2019: a 30% increase in funds available for charitable investments, and a payout rate that was four times the national average for donor-advised funds. Thank you for believing in the power of strategic philanthropy with the Impact Fund. Thank you for believing in your own power to make a difference in preserving, protecting and restoring American liberties and values. Read more about our community’s growth and 2019 milestones in the latest issue of the Bradley Impact Brief.
My optimism is about more than these numbers, though—it’s what they represent. As Karl Zinmeister, editor in chief of Philanthropy magazine wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Rather than being an instrument of plutocracy, America’s highly decentralized philanthropy is one of its most pluralistic and democratic elements.” The tradition of philanthropy in America is strong and getting stronger. And, citizens are affirming their belief in a concept central to the Bradley Impact Fund, that local organizations are best positioned to implement the solutions most effective in strengthening our civil society. Mr. Zinmeister explores this point further in his January 8, 2020 Wall Street Journal article, “The War on Philanthropy,” which I highly encourage you to read if you have not already.
Belief in the vital role of local organizations in strengthening individuals and communities is the very reason why we at the Impact Fund and The Bradley Foundation concentrate on understanding what makes a potential grant recipient’s work not just good, but great. Impact begins with knowledge.
If we are to preserve our nation for future generations, we must strive to make the most impact with our giving.