Philanthropy in times of crisis: How will the coronavirus affect giving?

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Jennifer Parris, the parent volunteer coordinator for Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts, works to organize supplies for distribution at CSLA on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 in Chattanooga.

When the world changes, does the way we give change, too? Does a crisis affect how much we give and to what?

Philanthropic organizations lack the authority and trillions of dollars government can use to respond to a public health emergency. But in times of crisis, philanthropic giving is crucial in immediate response efforts as well as ongoing relief - both before the government agencies have time to process their response and again later, when the after-effects of the crisis persist.

So does the philanthropic sector show up in times like this, when we're coping with a public health crisis, by giving more?

$600,000, increase in Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga's charitable disbursements from the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020

For historical context, let's take a look back to the economic recessions of 2001 and 2008.