Throughout the month of December, the Charitable Giving Coalition will be featuring a variety of voices in the charitable sector through our Season of Giving Guest Blog Series. These posts feature a fraction of the endless good work America’s nonprofit organizations are doing.
As North America’s oldest and largest community of independent, faith-based crisis shelters and life-transformation centers, Citygate Network’s 300-plus members offer comprehensive homeless services in most major U.S. cities, as well as numerous other communities around the country.
These faith-based, nonprofit organizations seek to move people in desperate situations and destitute conditions from human suffering to human flourishing through the process of life transformation. In carrying out their difficult work, they rely on donors to fund the programs and services they provide to their communities.
Generally, lower- and middle-income individuals—not wealthy benefactors and foundations—make up more than half of our shelters’ and centers’ donor bases. The charitable contributions of these dedicated Americans allow communities all over North America to benefit from the work our members do to address the core issues of hunger, homelessness, abuse, and addiction that plague so many across our nation.
In fact, studies show that between 60 and 75 percent of all emergency shelter beds in the country are provided by faith-based organizations. This means that not only do their guests receive physical shelter, but they also have access to people and programs that can help them turn their lives around and stop the cycle of homelessness.
Aren’t those the kinds of donations we want to incentivize? Don’t we want to encourage Americans to give towards efforts that produce a lasting difference in the towns and cities all over this great country? It’s both beautiful and challenging that this kind of work relies so heavily on the average American.
The U.S. has a long-established tradition for charity and “good will to mankind,” and we certainly don’t want to discourage those who give generously from limited incomes. What better way to maintain the rich history of charitable giving in our country than to reward the acts of generosity that are instrumental in the functioning of vital organizations like our rescue missions and kindred ministries? As if their work isn’t hard enough, let’s not make it any harder by discouraging big-hearted donors or minimizing their ability to give.