Charitable giving on upswing at beginning of holiday season

A year after many large nonprofits raised alarm bells about donor fatigue following deadly hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis worldwide, local charitable giving has shown a major increase.

The steady growth in the economy and record highs in the stock market have propelled many in the Bay Area to give more this year, according to Dr. Sandra Hernández, CEO of The San Francisco Foundation. The foundation manages more than $600 million annually in about 500 charitable funds for local families, plus another $300 million endowment. In the past year, Hernán-

dez said, the organization has seen a 147 percent increase in donations, from $23.5 million a year ago to $58 million.

Perhaps more important for the nonprofits and families who receive much of that money, grants have increased 29 percent to $49 million, compared with $38 million in 2005, Hernández said.

“It’s a very good year, relative to last year,” she said. “There’s a lot of wealth being made, but also an ever-present notion that families are being left behind.”

The Peninsula Community Foundation, which performs the same function in San Mateo County, has seen a record 25 percent jump in the funds it manages, pushing its managed assets to $465 million, according to Ash McNeely, foundation vice president. The owners of those funds have, in turn, given a combined $96 million to charities so far this year, surpassing last year’s $92 million, McNeely said.

The United Way also has seen increased generosity leading up to the “giving season,” Executive Vice President Eric McDonnell said. In fact, to a large extent, the donor fatigue that made headlines following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 never materialized in the Bay Area, according to United Way, which estimates one in four Bay Area residents struggles to make ends meet.

Of the 330 Bay Area nonprofits surveyed by United Way in October, 86 percent said they were “very” or “cautiously” optimistic about the coming year’s prospects. While contributions are on the upswing, so is demand. An estimated 69 percent of Bay Area nonprofits projected increased service need, the United Way survey showed.

For those ministering to the Bay Area’s neediest, such as Salvation Army Division Commander Joe Posillico at the Golden State branch the big donations couldn’t come at a better time. Despite the improving economy, many of the less fortunate havebeen overlooked, Posillico said.

Still weeks before the peak Christmas charity season, the need for home-delivered meals in San Francisco rose 18 percent to about 2,000 people more than a year ago, Posillico said. By Christmas, that number is expected to climb even higher. More people falling through the cracks is a result of the escalating cost of living.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A ban on smoking or vaping in multi-unit buildings has drawn opposition from cannabis advocates, who say it would leave users with no legal place to consume a legal substance. (Shutterstock)
Cannabis group slams Yee’s proposed apartment smoking ban as ‘classist’

Legislation would impose fines of $1,000 a day on repeat violators

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes in leadership at SFPUC spark concern, hope for future water policy

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

Supervisor Shamann Walton joined with community members to speak out against rising homicides, which have taken a heavy toll in the Bayview-Hunters Point in 2020. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F Examiner)
SF homicides surpass 2019 total with month left in year

Police attribute rise to COVID-19, shootings and deadly gang violence

A screenshot from SFPD body worn camera
New videos show police shooting man armed with knife, frying pan

Police say Antonio Estrada set fire to apartment building before shooting

Most Read