Author – Jon Russell
Edited by Noah Persin
Philanthropy has long been a part of the American culture. It is defined as the practice of giving money and/or time to help people other than themselves. Many of our social and/or publicly available programs are partially or even fully funded through philanthropic donors, such as: public arts, youth programs, health programs, public radio, public access television and public schools (including universities and state colleges).
Historically, philanthropic donations have been in the realm of the wealthy and charitable donations have been largely the work of groups (largely comprised those on the lower end of the socio-economic scale).Their contributions have allowed them to sway policy and influence social changes.Recently we have witnessed a shift in donors from the wealthy to the middle class.
Research has shown that from 2006 to 2012 the amount donated by the “middle-class” (Americans making $100,000 or less) has risen by 4.5 percent over previous years. At the same time the amount donated by those making $200,000 or more has reduced by almost that same amount. This shows a shift in how the largest buying class in America prioritizes their funds. This group has seen that money can equate to change, and have adopted a practice of “putting their money where their cause is”, so to speak. Sites like GoFundMe have sections where the regular person can donate to any charity that has a post on the site, making it even easier to engage in charitable acts.
The cannabis industry is facing a huge setback in terms of its image and philanthropy will play a large role in changing that image. Companies like Caviar Gold in Colorado agree. Owner Scott McKinley said this when asked about giving money away from a controversial industry: “We want to create an atmosphere that says, ‘We are very privileged to be in this industry.’ If we’re not doing anything with that privilege, then that’s not an industry I’m proud to be a part of. And I want to work in an industry that I’m proud to be a part of.”
GreenSea begins exploring “Philanthropy in the Cannabis Community” in this series of articles. We’ll discuss how it can help our community & our world, promote a brand image, generates public good-will and can help sway policy and legal regulation. We will also cover the difficulties business and charities have endured when trying to donate funds or products to nonprofit organizations.