According to the Bank of America Study of Philanthropy, COVID19 did not increase donations. Statistics record a 90% contribution which is precisely the same amount that Americans donated from the previous records. However, the pandemic has significantly changed the wealthy donations’ outlook in many ways. The two main areas where the change occurred are where the donations got delivered and the strategies employed.
Ann Limberg, leader of Philanthropic and Family Office Solutions at Bank of America Private Bank, acknowledges that the pandemic presented unforeseen challenges to charity. She also includes that the organization responded successfully with impulsive solutions because donors upheld their commitment, essentially sustaining Philanthropic flexibility.
The Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy also featured in 2021 research which sampled 1,626 households. The criteria used to classify wealthy donors were income above $200,000, a net worth exceeding $1 million, and the assessed value of their primary home. The percentage of these households dropped from 98.4% recorded in 2013, regardless of the positive donations that affluent households retained.
Globally, jobs got affected by COVID19. The impact left most people struggling to cater to their basic needs. Consequently, the research shows this force shifted 90% of donors’ attention to their local communities. In 2020, local charity donations expanded, including local individuals and business grants. Notably, 23% of affluent households increased their local donation, twice as remarkable as the 10% that increased contributions outside their community.
Furthermore, the research outlined some of the wealthiest philanthropists who donated. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, promised $50 million to pandemic relief in Washington State. Another significant donation was by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who contributed meals for 30,000 New York City healthcare workers. Phil Knight, co-founder of Oregon-based Nike, and some other Nike executives also gave $2 million to the Oregon Community Foundation Recovery Fund.
The strategy, unrestricted gifting, was widely in use in 2020 by wealthy donors. MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Jeff Bezos, is among the high-profile donors who handed out charity money in billions without restricting its use to specific purposes.
Generally, specified statistics by Giving Tuesday Data Commons reports that donations went up by 5.2% in 2020. However, the average amount given by the affluent households for the year 2020 is yet to be released by the Bank of America and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.