Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Do Americans Give To?

It may be old news, but it’s still good news: Americans like to give, and to religious causes, at that.

By permission of the Non-Profit Times

     Am I presuming too much when I say, “like to”? No matter. The July 1, 2010 issue of the Non-Profit Times ran a special report on last year’s charitable giving in the U.S. While there were few surprises in the types of contributions made, the charities benefitted, and the sources of funding, the real surprise came in the amount donated—$303.75 billion. Despite the recession and the predicted plunge in donations, charitable giving declined only about 3%, it came mostly from individuals (75%), and it went primarily to religion and education (70%). Corporations kept their commitments, and bequests increased slightly. Charities had braced themselves for the worst as the year wound down, but philanthropy sprinted ahead the last two weeks of December, making the year far less bleak than expected.
     The full article can be accessed at:

    For both the Daughters of St. Paul and our Pauline Books & Media Centers in the U.S. and Toronto, 2009 was a year of making do with much less. Fortunately, a few years ago the PBM Centers began trimming inventory and adopting strategies that enabled us to weather the onslaught of recession. We still had to close three locations, downsize another, and relocate a fifth, but data indicated that due to a significant decrease in walk-in traffic, precipitated also by major global changes in the book trade, those decisions would have been reached recession or no. They just came sooner than we anticipated.
     Conversely, other aspects of our mission are blossoming, thanks to the creativity and energy of sisters and co-workers, as well as the generosity of our donors:
¨          The Web store ( is growing and is serving people all over the U.S., even where we have PBM Centers;
¨          the digital production arm of Pauline Books & Media was launched. It now offers music downloads from the Daughters of St. Paul Choir, and has produced two iPhone applications. Another app is in the wings, funded largely by a corporate grant;
¨          PBM publishing has incorporated new technology and has made 36 titles available on iReaders, like Kindle ( and iPad (;
¨          the J-Club school book fair and Web site were established and are in the process of providing children’s products and of developing into a highly interactive online learning experience for classes and families;
¨          sisters and Pauline laity throughout the US/ESC province are gradually being prepared to carry out media literacy projects for their local Churches;
¨          a long-range, collaborative mission between the Daughters of St. Paul in North and South America is in the planning stage.

     In the near future you’ll be able to access details about these projects on this blog. Clearly, funding is needed for them, and we’re grateful to those who've already recognized this, Americans or not, and who've made religion and education their priority for 2009 and 2010.

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