Local nonprofits prepare to celebrate giving

With two significant events approaching in November: National Philanthropy Day and Protect Giving Day, the local nonprofit community is planning celebratory programs. Approximately 125 nonprofit organizations in Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas counties have been meeting or corresponding to discuss the positive impact that their organizations have had in the Greenbrier Valley as well as appropriate ways to thank the community for its support. An initial event is scheduled for Nov. 14 to correspond with National Philanthropy Day.

National Philanthropy Day (NPD) was established in 1985 to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – have made to our lives, our communities and our world. In 2012, more than 125 communities and 50,000 people around the world participated in NPD events and celebrations. These celebrations included award ceremonies, galas, luncheons, seminars and other special events. Outstanding donors, volunteers, corporations, foundations, small businesses, youth in philanthropy and others were honored on NPD in recognition of their work in improving their communities and their world every day. This year, NPD will continue with many events worldwide. Locally, a CommUnity Night will be held at the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau in downtown Lewisburg.

Protect Giving Day is a more recent introduction. It was established in 2009 by the Charitable Giving Coalition, a group of nonprofit, charitable and other organizations dedicated to preserving the law that provides a tax deduction for taxpayers who give to charities. This law dates back to World War I with the War Revenue Act of 1917. Current budget debates in Congress have included recommendations to alter or eliminate the deduction. On Nov. 20, hundreds of the coalition’s members from across the country will gather in Washington, DC, for “Protect Giving – D.C. Days.” Participants will meet with members of Congress and their staffs to encourage them to preserve the charitable deduction, sustain local nonprofits and other worthy causes and consider the potential impact that a decline in private giving would have on crucial local programs and services.

The Charitable Giving Coalition asserts that nationally, nonprofits generate $1.1 trillion every year through human services and provide 13.5 million jobs.  They account for 5.4 percent of the GDP and 9 percent of all wages paid. This diverse sector supports efforts to: develop advances in science and technology, from insulin and the polio vaccine to the MRI and pacemaker; provide educational opportunities; ensure housing and shelter for the most vulnerable; protect the environment and historic treasures; and provide access to the arts and cultural activities.
In West Virginia, the nonprofit sector exceeds the national average in economic impact.  A study performed by The Center for Civil Society Studies Institute of The Johns Hopkins University discovered that nonprofits in West Virginia employed 8.2 percent of the West Virginia workforce, or nearly one out of every 12 workers. This number is over three times as many people as the state’s largest manufacturing industry, chemicals and allied products manufacturing, more than twice as many people as the state’s entire mining industry, 65 percent more people than the state’s entire construction industry, and forty percent more people than state government. Nonprofit organizations thus accounted for nearly 8 percent of the state’s total payroll, exceeding payrolls for mining, chemicals and allied products manufacturing, and lumber and wood products manufacturing.

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