Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007
needs to be smarter about giving
11, 2007 -- Southerners are a generous people who give more
to good causes than folks in any other region of the country.
But according to a new report, this Southern giving mostly
is charity - giving to relieve immediate distress - as opposed
to philanthropy, which is financial support of good causes
that invest in solutions for bigger problems.
The difference is highlighted in Jesus' parable of the Good
Samaritan, explains Ferrel Guillory of the University of North
Carolina. In the story, thugs attacked a man, robbed him and
left him to die by a road. Two men, including a priest, saw
him, but scurried away. Then came a Samaritan, whose people
had a general antipathy for Jews like the hurt man. But the
Samaritan stopped and helped. He even took the injured man
to an inn to recover and paid the innkeeper for expenses.
"The Good Samaritan is a wonderful guy," said Guillory,
one of the authors of the State of the South 2007 report on
using philanthropy to help attack persistent Southern challenges.
"But who is policing the road? Sooner or later, you've
got to get into who is policing the road and that is what
philanthropy is about."
The South, which has grown by more than 20 million people
since 1980 into an economic powerhouse of 74 million people,
is ready to be smarter about how it invests in society, the
"We are full of Samaritans in the South, but now we've
got an opportunity because we are a more affluent society,"
Guillory said. "So we can afford to begin to aggregate
our money through foundations and non-profits to do the research
and find the projects that will go deeper into helping society."
In the five years starting in 1998, the percentage of Southerners
who filed tax returns showing gross incomes of $200,000 or
more grew 8.5 percent. In 2003, some 521,000 Southerners filed
returns at that level, the report said. But while the South
has more wealthy people, there still are a large number of
Southerners who live on the edge. Some 40 percent of people
in the South earn less than $31,000 a year - - an amount to
qualify them as poor or part of the "working poor."
Targeted, smart investment by foundations and nonprofits
into projects that look at longer-term solutions can really
help the region deal with lingering problems like poverty,
lower educational attainment, health issues and more.
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Two South Carolina examples showcase the benefits of this
so-called "strategic philanthropy:"
Palmetto Institute. The report mentions South Carolina's
Darla Moore, whose donations helped to create the Palmetto
Institute which seeks to increase per capita income for South
Carolina families. "Palmetto-sponsored research has prodded
South Carolina to revise its economic development strategies
and make important reforms in technical education," the
Riley Institute. In the Upstate, Furman University's
Riley Institute last year received a $600,000 grant from the
Hewlett Foundation to study the state's public education system.
Recommendations are expected in the coming months that may
revolutionize the way the state provides and thinks about
This year's State of the South report recognizes the powerful
engine of change that philanthropy can provide. It showcases
how non-governmental organizations can be flexible and creative
to promote change.
The report is a call to action for non-governmental entities
to think bigger and with longer-term goals. It suggests that
Southern foundations and non-profits concentrate on transformative
strategies that improve education, increase the region's competitiveness,
attack continuing poverty, reduce inequities and make the
region's people healthier.
"There are limits to what government and private markets
can do," Guillory noted. "We're stronger as a region.
We're not the beat upon, isolated, out-of-synch region we
used to be. Now it's time for us to be stepping up."
You can read the full report by MDC Inc.
You can reach Andy Brack, publisher of S.C. Statehouse Report,
for the senior generation
Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
2/4: A South Carolina no-brainer
To the editor:
Seems like a no-brainer for South Carolina to make the investment
2/4], to do whatever needs to be done, to stand up and
keep up or ahead of the technology curve.
-- Al Rich, Columbia, S.C.
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