Although COVID-19 has completely decimated the American commercial economy, one sector in our country’s economy is more robust than ever — philanthropy. Even during these trying times — when experts estimate that over 30 million Americans are now unemployed — people are donating their time, money, and energy to charitable organizations in all regions of the United States.
What is surprising about philanthropy during Coronavirus is that charitable acts are taking place on both a small and large scale. On the smaller end of things, folks are making small financial and food donations to food pantries, local non-profits, and charitable organizations.
On the larger side, according to journalists, charitable donations from corporations, foundations, and churches exceeded $7.8 billion by mid-April. To drive home the strength of the United States when it comes to philanthropy, journalists reported that 66% of these donations originated from U.S.-based companies, corporations, and religious organizations.
Andrew Grabois, a manager at Candid, has closely examined philanthropy during the time of COVID. In a recent interview on receiving grants during the pandemic, he said, “It shows no signs of slowing yet. We are just getting grants by the hour.”
Large Corporations Lead the Way
While large corporations often draw ire from both sides of the political aisle, one thing has become abundantly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since mid-April, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has donated $100 million to food banks around the country.
The Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy put out a call to their donor network to help struggling communities and small non-profits in every corner of the United States.
Melissa Stevens, the executive director of the Milken Institute, recently told a reporter, “Where there is a crisis, there is an opportunity to be seized to get more philanthropic capital off the sidelines and put it to work in really smart ways.” Stevens explained that in 2017, the Milken Institute had over $110 billion in its charitable network. She believes that her institution’s network has an obligation to do their part during this extremely difficult time for America.
Celebrity Philanthropists Pledge Big Dollars
Besides Jeff Bezos, other high-profile philanthropists who donated big dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic include Bill Gates and Rihanna. Rihanna’s foundation gave $2 million to various charities, while Bill Gates donated another $150 million on April 15, 2020.