Musical artist Cardi B recently turned social media criticism of her personal choices into a giving challenge, demonstrating an important lesson about the role private philanthropy plays in spurring giving.
Belcalis Almanzar, whose stage name is Cardi B, pushed back against critics who sought to tell her how to spend her money. Let’s be clear, this is Cardi B’s money and she has every right to do with it as she pleases, whether that is to spend, save, or give it away.
Cardi B wisely shifted the focus toward spurring giving to charity with a matching gift challenge to her followers and detractors. She quipped, “Lets match energy.”
Philanthropy often matches energy with energy by being innovative and inclusive.
Wealthy Americans give tremendously each year. According to our Almanac on philanthropy, the top 1 percent of households by income (those earning above $394,000 in 2015) gave about a third of all charitable dollars. Foundation giving contributes about 17 percent of total giving.
Individual philanthropic gifts can achieve positive outcomes by themselves, but donors and foundations will also leverage their dollars to spur even more giving and to make a greater impact, especially following a natural disaster or economic downturn.
Early in the pandemic, many private foundations, corporations, and individual donors issued matching challenges or started relief funds. There are hundreds of examples of how donors and philanthropic organizations marshaled their resources, collaborated with other funders to pool resources, or matched gifts for COVID-19 relief, medical innovation, education support, and more. By targeting a specific local problem or region, they can use the weight of their collective gifts to make a significant difference. Coming together to help local populations also fosters goodwill within the community as neighbors help neighbors.
In April, Cardi B herself teamed up with a national retailer to give away $1,000 each hour to individuals hurt by the pandemic until they had donated $1 million. We shall see how many of her critics took up her giving challenge and donated to pandemic relief.
Inviting others to be part of funding solutions delivers a more robust response to a crisis than a singular gift, while strengthening the bonds within communities. During this time of distress, we welcome creative approaches that keep the giving momentum going.