Celebrate Philanthropy, Everyday

Canada’s National Philanthropy Day 2019 just passed (November 18) which makes it the perfect time of the year to remind all Canadians that any day is a good one to begin giving. That said, it’s important to recognize all that the annual celebration stands for so that you understand how much those in need depend upon the support of their community. Learn more, below, about National Philanthropy Day, Canada’s role as a giving nation, and an example of how Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation is making a difference in the lives of children. Lastly, we have provided some information about how you can help us celebrate the spirit of the day, every day.

What Is National Philanthropy Day?

Spearheaded by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), National Philanthropy Day (NPD) is defined as:

NPD is a celebration of philanthropy—giving, volunteering and charitable engagement—that highlights the accomplishments, large and small, that philanthropy makes to our society and our world. It celebrates charitable accomplishments and encourages Canadians to give back to their communities.”

Canada’s Place as a Philanthropic Nation

Canada was actually the very first country to officially permanently recognize NPD (in 2012) and in doing so established a new model for other countries to follow. In recognition of NPD all Canadians are encouraged to embrace the meaning of this day and set an example by ensuring that donations are ethically raised and spread evenly so that key groups are not left out. While charitable “turnout” has been decent when compared to many other countries, the most recent CanadaHelps’ The Giving Report finds that the our charitable sector is facing an impending funding crisis. Data shows that donations are down across all age groups. There is a bright light in the Canadians aged 55+ sector, who give far more money to charity than younger age groups. However, the report finds that the largest erosion of donation rates is found in the 45-54 age group. Guess who will be replacing the 55+ sector? That’s right – those who give the most are about to be replaced by those who give the least.

If Canada’s giving model is expected to be sustainable something needs to change, which requires a change of perceptions. One perception (or should we say misconception?) is that the burden falls solely on the shoulders of those who live well above the country’s median household income line. The CanadaHelps report indicates a sharp decline in donations from high-income earning families. The reality is that lower-income families give a higher percent of their total income. But spreading the spirit of giving among income classes isn’t the solution in itself, although it helps. Instead, it’s important to recognize that donations, be they from the “upperclass” or elsewhere, don’t always reach where needed to create a truly sustainable model. There is significant disparity in where Canadians donate, with the top five categories namely health (received 26%), public benefit (22%), religion (21%) and education (19%) – each getting over 19% of donations and the bottom five all falling under 10%.

For example, in 2016, Canadians donated a total of $9.6 billion – that’s right, over nine billion dollars! While that is tremendous, very little of it came to smaller charities within the country. It’s the smaller nonprofits that reach individuals, households, and community groups in a very tangible manner. It’s their good work that is felt in the homes and classrooms in the urban centers and towns across Canada. And therein lies the gap. Deciding to give is great but knowing where to give is even better. When you can see the results of your philanthropic actions in action, you gain confidence that your donation is being put to good use. Need an example of a worthy cause, one that reaches those who hold the future of our country in their hearts and hands? Read ahead to find out how our Foundation is doing just that.

What Is Seeds of Inspiration (SOI)?

Taylor School, Swan River MB

There’s little that feels better than making a positive difference in the lives of children. The Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation’s Seeds of Inspiration (SOI) program provides classroom resources to enable the experience of the seed-to-table growing cycle. The Foundation donates SOI to classrooms and libraries, including the two empowering storybooks – Plant a Seed & See What Grows and What to Do with What You Grew authored by Roland Gahler.  The Foundation also provides complementary lesson materials including organic seeds and educational workbooks for teachers, parents and tutors with students between Kindergarten and Grade 3. To date, the program has reached nearly 66,000 students across Canada. Learn more about the recent success of SOI, complete with information on those who helped make it all possible – and you can join them.

How You Can Become a Philanthropist

When you hear the word philanthropist you may envision someone of significant means who devotes a large amount of resources (time and/or money) to support a cause. But as stated in the section about Canada’s place as a philanthropic nation section above, that’s simply not the case. No matter your station in life, pledging to become more charitable all year long will help create a sustainable model for giving in Canada. This One Giving Report statistic is very telling – almost half (47%) of all donations come in the last two months of the calendar year, with the bulk (30%) generated in December. In order to break this untenable pattern, Canadians need to give all year long. How can you do this? Let’s return the Plant a Seed & See What Grows SOI program. The cost of providing a class of 30 students with access to the program is just $200. By becoming a monthly donor at the $20-plus level, you will make a direct and quantifiable difference in the lives of children in Canada. You can donate to SOI or one of the Foundation’s other funded programs by clicking here.

Join us in celebrating the spirit of National Philanthropy Day and give to Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation today!

Another article you may be interested in: Why Donate to a Foundation