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During my first couple of months at the Sonora Area Foundation, I was surprised by the reaction that I got from some friends when I used the word “philanthropy.” When asked about their reaction, I was told that philanthropy is “something only rich people do.” Facts and figures from The Chronicle of Philanthropy reveal a different story.

According to figures found on The Chronicle’s website (, 54% of Generation Y (born 1981 to 1991) give for philanthropic purposes; 52% of Generation X (born 1965 to 1980); 66% of the Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964); and 77% of the Matures (born prior to 1945). That is a large group of people and certainly more than just the rich.

I suspect that my friends were thinking about philanthropy on a much larger scale, rather than the more modest levels of philanthropy that we may be more accustomed to as individuals. Again from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 86% of those who give from Generation Y give an annual amount of less than $500, compared to 69% for Generation X, 66% for Boomers, and 65% for Matures. As one may expect, the Matures give more annually and to a larger average number of charities. The point is that “philanthropy” is not just a domain for the super rich – philanthropy is for everyone.

The Sonora Area Foundation provides an opportunity for everyone to meet their personal charitable goals. Whether you wish to establish a donor fund or if you want to contribute to an existing fund that awards grants or scholarships, the Foundation makes charitable giving – yes, philanthropy – quick, easy, and available to everyone. We administer approximately 170 funds which serve to address human service needs; education; arts, culture and humanities; health; public/society benefit; environment/animals; and others, such as science and technology or social sciences.

As we close in on the end of 2011, think about how the Sonora Area Foundation can help you achieve your goals for charitable giving and strengthen our community and families. See for yourself how philanthropy truly is for everyone.

The Board of Directors and staff of the Sonora Area Foundation wish everyone in our community Happy Holidays! We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!