'Strive for Five' sees a way for families to help

November 24, 1991|By Linell Smith

Since September, a local philanthropy advocacy group has enlisted many of the area's 700 non-profit organizations and more than 555 households in its campaign to improve life in Central Maryland.

"Strive for Five," a program sponsored by Partners for Giving, encourages people to volunteer five hours a week and to contribute 5 percent of their household income to non-profits of their choice.

It was launched after a study of giving trends in Central Maryland showed what local fund-raisers long suspected: Area residents give less of their household income to charity -- 1.5 percent compared to 2.5 percent nationally -- and give fewer hours of their free time -- 34 percent of adults volunteer compared to 54 percent nationally.

Based on these findings, Partners for Giving decided to temper the national "Give Five" campaign -- established by the American Association of Fund-raising Counsel Trust for Philanthropy -- with a less imperative slogan.

"Even if we reach the national average of 2.5 percent by the end of 1993, we'll put an extra $260 million into the non-profit community," says Mary Ellen Gunther, who chairs the organization with her husband Frank.

"I don't want to say that we're not a giving community, but we're not giving at the level that we can afford to give."

Equally important, she says, is finding more people to volunteer time. Studies show that volunteers tend to be generous with their money as well.

A coalition of business, foundations and non-profits, Partners for Giving is supported by the A.S. Abell Foundation, the Baltimore Community Foundation, the Morris Goldseker Foundation of +V Maryland and the United Way of Central Maryland as well as other area non-profits and businesses.

The philanthropy advocacy group will conduct another survey in 1993 to determine whether giving and volunteer patterns have improved.

K? For more information on Partners for Giving, call 752-0090.

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