Rural Philanthropy

Special Edition: Rural Philanthropy

There is a significant disparity that exists regarding the distribution of donations made by foundations between rural and urban areas, with the latter receiving the larger piece of the pie. A study published in 2008 by the Canada Revenue Agency (view here) stated that only 22% of charities were rural organizations (with over one out of three of these considered to be small organizations). In consequence, charitable funds are unequally distributed throughout the territory, with some groups having access to more resources than others. Research also mirrors this reality, with only a minimal portion of studies covering philanthropic activities outside of large urban centers.

This being said, the strong presence of foundations in cities must not lead us to minimize the dynamic philanthropic culture of rural regions, or occult the major role played by the latter in satisfying the variety of social needs of communities and building up solidarity among them. A philanthropic culture cannot be reduced to the grants made by foundations, or even, more broadly, to all of the philanthropic activities of the charitable sector as a whole. Philanthropic culture can also be expressed through other means, not in the least less important, such as volunteer participation, donations made by individuals or to social causes, corporate community involvement, or by all the manifestations of mutual aid that can be found in neighbourhood interactions. Thus, this special edition has a double objective: not only does it aim at inviting foundations to reinvest in the rural world at its full value, but also to encourage the research sector to discover philanthropy’s various forms of expression and insertion within different living environments.

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