Last month we shared the importance of giving your dollars, influence, and time. In this article, we discuss the health benefits of giving, as well as reflect on the impact of giving over the past year.

Last month we shared the importance of giving your dollars, influence, and time. In this article, we discuss the health benefits of giving, as well as reflect on the impact of giving over the past year. There are plenty of opportunities for generosity, given the circumstances of the past year. 2020 saw the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, an unprecedented pandemic that plunged the world into a dystopia the likes of which are usually reserved for science fiction, and a decimated economy.

Studies have shown that generosity increases life quality, with 23% more givers reporting higher satisfaction in their daily lives, better relationships, and more fulfillment in their careers. The benefits do not end there, either.

The human body has a physiological response to giving, stimulating a portion of the brain called the mesolimbic pathway, which triggers a gratification sense throughout the body. Giving also causes the body to release feel-good hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. This cocktail of happiness hormones leads to higher self-esteem and better sleep, lower blood pressure, and even increased chronic pain management.

So how has the Community Foundation contributed to the feel-good response and generosity in our local area this year?

Hurricane Dorian

In August of 2019, Hurricane Dorian barreled through the northwest region of the Bahamas. The category 5 storm traveled at a painstakingly slow pace, battering the island with 200 mph winds and storm surges as high as 20 feet. Destruction to homes and businesses resulted in an estimated $1.5-$3 billion in damages. Community Foundation got to work, establishing the Bahamas Disaster Relief Fund. The fund, launched with a $100 thousand matched donation from Mr. and Mrs. J. Ira Harris, ultimately raised more than $1 million before it closed.

Covid-19 and the Economy

2020 has been an unprecedented year of masks and physical distancing. The insidious novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 220 thousand Americans, infected millions, and in most regions of the world, it is still the first wave of infections. It has also disrupted our way of life, keeping baby boomers from seeing their grandchildren, forcing high school seniors to forgo prom, and making Zoom social gatherings the new normal.

In addition to upending our way of life, Covid-19 brought the US economy's record 113 months of job growth and expansion to a screeching halt, with a 9.1% drop in output for the second quarter - by far the steepest decline in recorded history. Again, Community Foundation donors stepped up after we launched the Covid-19 Response Fund, which raised $500 thousand in its first 48 hours, and has accumulated more than $3.5 million to date. This money has and continues to be used to help organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic, as well as communities disproportionately affected by the virus.

Next Steps for Giving

Without the Community Foundation’s generous donors these efforts would not be possible. And while there is no shortage of need for generosity after such an impactful year, and while giving back will make a difference for others, your clients will likely benefit from the physical and emotional kickback as well.

In conclusion, the health of your client and the health of our community both benefit from generosity. Your clients could support the many activities at the Community Foundation or incorporate any of the methods of giving mentioned in "Part 1: Why Generosity Matters."

We are here to help your clients understand how they are a part of making this community better. Thank you for continuing to encourage your clients to give the gift of generosity this season.