Chattanoogans continue charitable trends in 2021 as need grows, donor preferences evolve

Contributed photo by CBL Properties / Volunteers for United Way of Greater Chattanooga go to work during the Day of Caring event at Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Sept 30, 2021. As a whole, Chattanooga has seen an increase in charitable giving since the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a record year of giving in 2020, ongoing pandemic recovery, equity and social justice stayed top of mind, and Chattanoogans reached into their pockets to create what's proven to be another strong year for charitable giving.

High interest in charitable giving follows national trends and is bolstered by strong financial market performance and large gifts from the wealthy.

Maeghan Jones, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, said last year the nonprofit granted around $20 million through both its endowed fund and the donor-advised funds - with $3 million going directly to COVID-19 relief.

The Community Foundation expects to see another increase this year, opening with $19 million worth of donor-advised funds, which continue to gain favor in that donors can ensure their funds are used in ways that align with their passions.