Last night’s episode of Stay Tuned on the Nine Network (KETC-TV) featured a rich discussion about philanthropy in the St. Louis region, topics ranging from how community members make decisions about who to fund and generational patterns in giving, to commentary about how best to support the work of 13,000 nonprofits in the St. Louis region. Stay Tuned is a new, interactive series on the Nine Network in which host Casey Nolan facilitates conversations among community members, experts, and journalists on a topic that impacts metropolitan St. Louis region, while viewers participate in the live conversation through social media. Congratulations to the Nine Network on this fantastic new initiative!
Last night’s conversation was placed in the context of the national philanthropic landscape since the 2008 recession; Patrick Rooney (Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University) spoke to the slow recovery of philanthropy at a time of increased community needs, paired with decreased government support for nonprofit programs. Other guests offered some explanation of the fiscal cliff’s potential impact on the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors: cuts to domestic spending (including funding to nonprofits) across the board by about 9% will create increased reliance on philanthropic dollars, while the incentive to give could be decreased by eliminating the charitable deduction.
Center President Mary McMurtrey helped to initiate the conversation about philanthropy in St. Louis with statistics about individual giving in our community (which makes up about 75% of total charitable dollars), as well as St. Louis’ particular reliance on corporate philanthropy (rather than on private foundations, which is the case in many other communities). This morning’s St. Louis Business Journal features a great article offering further context on giving in St. Louis.
Center members including Reverend Starsky Wilson (Deaconess Foundation), Amelia Bond (Greater St. Louis Community Foundation), Kirby Burkholder (IFF), and Gary Dollar (United Way of Greater St. Louis) offered great insight into philanthropy as a community investment – the returns of which yield public, rather than personal value – and emphasized both being attentive to quality standards set out by organizations like the Better Business Bureau and the United Way, as well as establishing relationships with organizations to better understand their specific needs and operations.
The conversation closed with an emphasis on outcomes: how community members can best leverage their philanthropic dollars to strengthen their communities, and how new funding models (e.g. social impact bonds) rethink the roles of government and private philanthropy in producing positive social outcomes.
Click here to watch the full episode of Stay Tuned and tune in on Thursday nights at 9pm for future episodes!