Let’s talk about giving with CCF donor, Alan Davis

Alan S. Davis is the President of the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund and Director of WhyNot Initiative.

Q:  WHAT ROLE DOES PHILANTHROPY PLAY IN YOUR FAMILY?

My family was very philanthropic growing up. We were told that whatever income we may make to spend 25% on ourselves and needs, 25% on housing, 25% for taxes, and the remaining 25% given to charity.

When my parents died 20 years ago, I received half of their family foundation to run and gave my children a smaller foundation that I started when I was younger. My children immediately changed the name of my foundation and now focus on areas that they are passionate about, including women’s rights, health, and the environment.

Q: HOW DOES CCF SUPPORT YOUR GIVING?

I don’t usually provide grants for direct service. When COVID-19 hit, it was fantastic to be able to utilize the expertise at CCF. They guided us to organizations that needed immediate relief and helped inform our response to the pandemic.

Q: HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC CHANGED PHILANTHROPY? 

It was the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of giving more. We’ve been influenced by a donor group called Solidaire Network that encourages donors to give more and better When the pandemic hit, that crystallized this idea to spend now and down. Our family made a significant increase in what we gave in 2020 and will do so again this year.

Q: HOW DO YOU ENCOURAGE OTHER TO GIVE GENEROUSLY? 

The pandemic’s impact on nonprofits has been extremely harsh and continues. I formed the Crisis Charitable Commitment to encourage donors who have the capacity to respond and step up to the plate. We’re trying to get people to give at a level commensurate with their net worth.

We created the “Charitable Standard” encouraging foundations and donor advised funds (DAFs) to distribute at least 10% of their assets in both 2020 and 2021. We’re pleased that 90 people (individuals, foundations, and DAFs) have signed on to the commitment–representing $550 million of charitable giving to organizations but we need to encourage many more donors to join them.

Q: WHAT DO YOU HOPE THE IMPACT OF INCREASED GIVING WILL BE? 

If we increase giving, we will be able to get out of this post-pandemic crisis and help resuscitate nonprofits. I also think donors might get into the habit of giving more. It does good and feels good to give fully and that’s what we’re about.   

Learn more about the Charitable Commitment at CharitableCommitment.org.

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