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News from the Case Foundation and what people are talking about this week in the world of giving, tech and everything in between.
Much of the conversation this week centered around the report released by the Giving USA Foundation, which found that donations to charitable causes in the United States reached an estimated $307.65 billion in 2008, a 2 percent drop in current dollars over 2007, and the first decline in giving in current dollars since 1987. In her coverage of the report, Stephanie Strom of the New York Times points out that "Even with the steep drop, charitable giving remained strong. Last year’s giving outstripped all previous years on record except 2007, though the outlook for next year remains uncertain." In a much blogged-about post on the report, Sean Stannard-Stockton at Tactical Philanthropy observes:
Charitable giving behaved more or less as it normally does when the economy sours. This is, by most measures, the worst recession in a very long time and so we’re seeing charitable giving get hit. But it is only declining in line with the way it normally behaves.
Things are tough, but there was no apocalypse.
Another exciting announcement this week came from Kiva, which officially launched in the U.S. this week. As reported by the Associated Press, "Kiva will let needy U.S. small businesses vie for funding alongside a melting pot of cash-starved entrepreneurs that includes everything from a Cambodian fisherwoman to a Moldovan butcher to a Bolivian taxi driver." Good Morning America featured a great segment on the Kiva U.S. launch and Britt Bravo at the Have Fun, Do Good blog wrote about her experience making her first Kiva loan to an American entrepreneur, observing:
I'm excited about this new service first, because I'm sure more American entrepreneurs than ever could use help getting their businesses started, and second, because it makes the program less one-sided--Americans helping people in the developing world--to people helping people, wherever they live.
Late this week, we learned a bit more about All for Good, a new "Craigslist for service" which launched in alpha on Friday. Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post reports:
The site, which is still in its infancy (you can check out its first, early iteration here), brings together listings from a variety of service organizations (and after the White House puts the call out, I'm sure many more will be signing on) to help people from all over the country connect to volunteering opportunities in their area that are meaningful to them.
Craig Newmark of Craigslist, who has been part of the team creating All for Good also announced the launch on his blog, and Suzanne Perry of the Chronicle of Philanthropy also has an in-depth story on the upcoming launch.
This week's announcement from Facebook that it will make usernames / vanity URLs available beginning midnight Friday generated quite a bit of buzz this week and sparked numerous discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of the announcement. Mashable's Benn Parr has a good overview of the positives and negatives of Facebook usernames and Caroline McCarthy of CNET News developed a useful guide on what the ability to create vanity URLs on Facebook really means for users.