Philanthropy and Giving at Christmas Time

Well, just in case you haven’t noticed yet, its Christmas time. And for many people the season of Advent is a time of giving. This goes beyond just giving gifts to family and friends it extends to those we know and those we don’t know who are in need. Not only do people think more about giving to charities during December they also talk and blog more about it. Sooo, after reading a number of blogs lately on philanthropy and giving I decided to take up the discussion and share just a few of my thoughts on the subject…

It seems like people keep talking about the changes in philanthropy and giving – it’s become more global (we have more knowledge of what’s going on in the other side of the world and we have more ability to do something about it than ever before) and for-profit companies are becoming more involved in philanthropy, touting terms like “social responsibility”.

Personally, I think it’s AWESOME that giving is becoming more global and that it’s no longer just an area for individuals but that companies are getting involved. But, I have one thought/question…

Does the fact that companies are stepping up to meet the needs of the needy mean that the church has failed at least to some extent to do its job of giving food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger, clothing the naked, looking after the sick and visiting the prisoner? (Matthew 25:31-46) Is it possible that in the past few centuries especially the church has been so preoccupied with “making Christians”, with getting people to say the sinners prayer, that we have forgotten our own social responsibility and others have now had to step up to the roll we should have been playing in social justice? … just a thought…

Ok, that said I really do think it is wonderful that companies are getting involved in philanthropy, especially since they have a lot of resources and ability to accomplish change.

I’ve also recently come across some interesting philanthropic sites I wanted to share:

www.kiva.org - this site lets individuals lend money to entrepreneurs in developing nations – “empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty.”

www.donorschoose.org - this site enables donors to contribute to educational projects for schools all around the country – donors choose which programs to donate to and how much

www.globalgiving.com - this site “connects donors to doers” – the site allows individuals who are working change it their communities to post about what they are doing and then generous people from around the globe can contribute to the projects of their choosing.

www.onehitwonder.org - this site is raising money one dollar at a time – pretty cool actually

So, if you are looking for some place to give this Christmas and make the world a little better those might be some places to start. Merry Christmas to all.

Rejoicing in the journey - Beth Stedman