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Non-profit says people are donating despite economic conditions

Contractors refurbish a building for the United Way
Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class(SW) James Kimber
Wikimedia Commons
Contractors refurbish a building for the United Way

As the so-called giving season came to an end last week, non-profits continued to make their year-end appeals for financial support.

In light of some tough economic pressures, It remains to be seen how much giving actually took place at the end of 2022 but Kerry Pedraza with United Way of Clark, Champaign, and Madison Counties tells WYSO that her non-profit hasn't seen a drop in donations so far.

Transcript (edited lightly for length and clarity):

Kerry Pedraza: We're not seeing huge dips and declines, as one might think, given the fact that inflation is high, given the fact that we're all coming off of the pandemic. Given the uncertainty of 2023 and the most recent dips in all of our retirement accounts and investments, one would think that we would see a significant dip in giving. Contrary to that, we're not seeing those dips and swings. What we are seeing is the continual, almost tireless generosity of people for causes and the helping of their neighbors, and seeing that, whether it's a local scale or a larger scale of where those needs are, you know, people continue to give.

The problem is that, just like in a household budget, for our nonprofits, inflation is hitting them. So, the dollar and the ability to to maximize that dollar is harder and harder. When you start talking about the fact that our nonprofits are giving direct service, whether that be food banks or rent and utility assistance or overall health care, everything is rising, and that's the case with our nonprofits as well.

Jerry Kenney: That's great that funding remains on track, and has that been pretty stable through this year?

Pedraza: It has been. One of the things that we've also noticed is that oftentimes people think that generosity, or that philanthropic giving comes from our baby boomers. Actually, what we're seeing is that that there continues to be strong giving in this economic environment coming from our millennials. They may give differently, which is something that a lot of nonprofits have to adjust to—it may not be the same way as we are used to marketing and pulling people into our fold, but they are strong givers. They see themselves as philanthropists. They want to do good in communities and they know that they have choices. They're very informed about where they give money to.

Kenney: You mentioned the uncertainty of 2023, how does that affect your organizations? Do you have to reassess the programs that you're offering your clients?

Pedraza: We do. One of the things that I'm most proud about is what the United Way brings to a community, whether it be United Way of Clark, Champaign or Madison or any of the surrounding counties in your listening area. But the thing about the United Way and the return on investments with United Way is that we really do have our pulse in the community. Every nonprofit has a mission that they are very passionate about, United Way's look at the holistic needs in the community comes by looking at data from community health improvement plans, education reports, grade cards, things like that. So, when we do have to make those tough choices, those are tough choices that have been made based on data about where we see needs and not just overall slashes to everyone's budgets.

Kenney: Kerry Pedraza is executive director of United Way of Clark, Champagne, and Madison Counties. Kerry, thanks so much for your time today.

Pedraza: Well, thank you, Jerry. It's a pleasure to talk with you and thanks to everyone who decides to commit and give to someone or something in our community to give back.

Jerry began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.