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Good News: A Positive Giving Direction
The September-October edition of Advancing Philanthropy’s headline reads, “2010 Charitable Giving Rebounds Slightly.” Americans continue to be generous!

Findings in recent Gardner & Associates projects and studies reflect these headlines that in spite of a challenging economy American individuals, foundations and corporations have increased their charitable giving by 2.1% adjusted for inflation.

Giving USA Foundation reported this welcome change for 2010 giving after drops in 2008 and 2009 totaling 13%.  Those dips were the largest in more than four decades.  In 2010 total giving surpassed the $300 billion mark.  Giving USA estimates is that $10.59 billion more was donated in 2010 than in 2009.

Giving by individuals they estimated at $211.77 billion, up 2.7% over 2009.  Charitable bequests rose an estimated 18.8%.  Corporate giving rose 10.6%.  Foundation grants remained steady with a decrease of .2%.

Connect with the full details of the Giving USA 2011 Report in a free summary of findings at www.givingusareports.org.

Increasing Number of Adults Twitter
Communications experts continue to encourage NPOs to use tiered marketing plans to reach their maximum audience. This means combining print with a range of digital media.  That way your message is delivered in several different formats.

The Pew Research Center reports that 13% of online adults use Twitter. This is up from 8% in a November 2010 study. Interestingly, Twitter users own both a cell phone and a handheld device. African Americans and Latino Americans report high rates of adoption of digital services with 25% reporting online activity and 11% indicate that they Twitter daily.

Food Bank Initiates “Bridge Bash”
The Food Bank of North Central Arkansas hit a home run when it launched its first signature event.  The “Bridge Bash” was held on the iconic Rainbow Bridge in Cotter, AR.  There were 1,600 participants.  The event netted $34,000 that will result in over 170,000 meals served to clients in the FBNCA nine-county service area.

Jeff Quick, FBNCA Development Director, engaged a 22-member community task force to organize the event.  The “Bridge Bash” served a dual purpose:  galvanize community awareness of local hunger needs and build a connection between the Food Bank and the communities it serves.

Winthrop Rockefeller Collaboration
Gardner & Associates is pleased to be working with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation staff and board to provide coaching for its Moving the Needle Working Group.  The Working Group is composed of eleven NPOs across Arkansas that work on projects to reduce the effects of poverty, increase graduation rates, build NPO capacity and strengthen communities. Walt Eilers is serving as the coach and Paul Gardner as the consultant on this project.  It is an exciting project that is having transformation impacts across the state.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation website is www.wrfoundation.org. Make it a favorite because WRF continuously publishes reports and information on events, projects and people that are making a difference in Arkansas.

Youth Strategies
Youth Strategies (YS) is a Springdale NPO that works with students in the Alternate Learning Environment (ALE) program of Springdale Schools.  The YS clients frequently find the classroom environment challenging.  YS’s mission is to keep these ALE students in school, get them to graduate and teach them to become social entrepreneurs.

Youth Strategies provides job skills to its clients.  YS stated with Community Bike Shop, a bike repair shop.  This summer they added The Green Team, a lawn care business.  Next summer they will add a truck farm.  Each activity teaches the students responsibility, job skills and builds confidence.

Mike Fohner conceived and is the CEO of Youth Strategies.  Be sure the check out the YS website, www.youthstrategies.org.

YS is one of Gardner & Associates pro bono projects in 2011.  We are pleased with the progress of its board capacity building and its program development.

G&A Sponsorships
The Gardner & Associates positioning statement is “Growing Philanthropy.”  Each year we work to support local groups with both donations and pro bono work.   In 2011 G&A will sponsor the AFP National Philanthropy Day in both Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas. We provide pro bono support to Youth Strategies, Yvonne Richardson Center and Fayetteville Underground.

Paul serves on the board of  Vera Lloyd Home, while Walt is the President of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.