Editorial: #GivingTuesday and Season of Sharing

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If Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have worn down you and your pocketbook, there’s one more day most worthy of your time, energy and dollars this month.

It’s #GivingTuesday, and we encourage you to take part. Whether donating to fire relief or Borderline shooting funds, joining in The Star’s annual Bellringer campaign or contributing time or money to a host of other local organizations, we all can embrace #GivingTuesday as a reminder of the true meaning of the holidays and the spirit of sharing.

Now in its seventh year, #GivingTuesday was created by New York City cultural center 92nd Street Y to promote charitable giving nationwide through social media and special events. It raised more than $300 million in 2017.

Overall in the United States, charitable giving increased by 5.2 percent last year, topping $400 billion for the first time, according to the Giving USA Foundation’s annual report released in June. Individuals accounted for 70 percent of that giving, which again got a boost from a thriving economy and stock market, the foundation reported.

Yet charitable giving continued to lag in California when compared with other states. A report last year by personal finance website WalletHub ranked us 43rd when analyzing data such as volunteer rates and percentage of income donated to charity (Utah ranked first and Hawaii last). And the Ventura County Civic Alliance’s “2017 State of the Region” report found Ventura County nonprofit groups were raising funds at less than half the statewide per-capita rate.

About a third of our nation’s charitable giving traditionally occurs in December, even though the need exists year-round. Despite Ventura County’s affluence, an estimated 75,000 residents a year need assistance from nonprofit and charitable organizations.

That need is even greater after this month’s wildfires. United Way organizations in Ventura and Los Angeles counties have joined to raise disaster relief funds for the victims on #GivingTuesday at unitedwayla.org. The Ventura County Community Foundation is collecting donations for fire and Borderline victims at vccf.org. And The Star and Salvation Army last week kicked off their annual Bellringer holiday drive to raise money for the needy here, at vcstar.com/bellringer2018.

We encourage you to give what you can to help the less fortunate among us. More than 25 Ventura County groups are participating in #GivingTuesday. You can learn more by visiting givingtuesday.org and clicking on “search nearby.”

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