Letter to the Editor - August 2010

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Nonprofits remain a vital part of Virginia’s economy

To the Editor,

As the only Virginia-based board member of Giving USA Foundation, I was delighted to see your June issue’s focus on philanthropy and nonprofits, a vital segment of Virginia’s economy [“A changing role for philanthropy”]. In 2009, the nonprofit sector contributed 10.7 percent of the nation’s GDP and paid 8 percent of wages, according to the just-released Giving USA 2010.

Your coverage also noted that the recession has indeed challenged some nonprofits. Even so, Giving USA found that 2009 charitable giving totaled $303.75 billion, topping $300 billion for the third year in a row. Considering 2009’s economy and job market, that giving declined by only 3.6 percent was remarkable. And giving by individuals barely shifted, dropping by only 0.4 percent.

So, nonprofit boards and staff need to know that even during the economic recovery, people are giving. In a survey of 400 charities, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that in 2010’s first quarter, giving rose by a median rate of 11 percent. As your series “The Generous Virginians Project” illustrates so well, when Virginians are asked, they step up. Thanks for putting their good work in the spotlight.

Keith Curtis
President & CEO
The Curtis Group
Virginia Beach

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