Giving hearts define us

Americans are famously compassionate people. When we learn of someone in need, we tend to dig into our pockets to help them.

Last year, we set a new record: about $410 billion in charitable giving, according to an authoritative report by the Giving USA organization. It totaled donations from individuals, estates, companies and foundations.

To understand the magnitude of our willingness to give, consider that the amount donated last year by Americans is greater than the entire gross domestic product of most countries. It is roughly equivalent to the value of all goods and services produced annually in Israel, Ireland and Iran individually.

It is unfortunate that even our compassion sometimes is placed in a political context. “Americans’ record-breaking charitable giving in 2017 demonstrates that even in divisive times, our commitment to philanthropy is solid,” commented Aggie Sweeney, who chairs the Giving USA Foundation.

That misses the point about Americans. It matters not whether we are Democrats, Republicans or something in between. We in this nation have big hearts. That, not whether we see eye to eye on other matters, defines us as a people.

COMMENTS