When people use the word “philanthropy” these days, too often it conjures images of wealthy individuals making large financial gifts. It may feel as though this is a practice reserved for a select few individuals of privilege, but that’s far from the truth. At its most basic definition, philanthropy is “goodwill to others.” It is the act of creating and supporting opportunities that help others flourish. This can be expressed through time volunteered, cash donations, grants made or any other form of support that serves the common good of our community. Put simply, philanthropy is for everyone.
We are grateful to see this spirit of philanthropy continuing to flourish throughout Clark County as individuals, families, nonprofits, business partners, the faith community and elected leaders continue to come together to serve the common good. As we have all worked to navigate the historic challenges of the last two years, we continue to see example after example of the Clark County community rising to the occasion to serve and support one another in meaningful ways.
We have seen a community adapting to serve those in need. In a common moment, food insecurity in Clark County increased substantially while donations were strained and nonprofits had to rapidly pivot to accommodate health concerns. Organizations like the Clark County Food Bank took every one of these challenges in stride, rallying business partners and community members to help ensure that every individual and family in our region had access to nutritious food.
We have seen generosity across backgrounds. Our friends at the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington helped galvanize giving throughout our region with their annual Give More 24! event. In one day’s time, they helped gather more than $3.35 million in contributions from more than 6,600 donors for 207 local nonprofits. Organizations serving nearly every sector benefitted from the generosity of individuals and corporate donors, bringing support to all corners of our community.
We have seen strength from our institutions. The amazing team at the Kuni Foundation recently announced $9.8 million in grants to organizations advancing cancer research, helping develop affordable housing, and serving individuals with intellectual disabilities. While the COVID-19 pandemic remains a top concern and priority, investments like those made by Kuni and other funders and corporate giving programs help provide needed support to ongoing challenges.
I could continue a list for hours, highlighting all of the ways that individuals, families, businesses, faith communities, elected officials and community leaders participate in philanthropy in Clark County every day by serving the common good. We are grateful to all who contribute to these efforts and create an ecosystem of giving that helps ensure everyone has an opportunity to flourish and thrive. But we also know we can all do more. We can find new ways to partner with others. Our leaders can lean into the ideas and policies that serve our communities, not those that lead to brokenness and division. Our business leaders can reimagine ways they can lend unique, innovative support to our region. In this spirit of hope, we encourage everyone to think of ways we can help others flourish and what we can give to make that happen. Give generously. Give creatively. Give often.