COVID Sparked a Surge of Generosity

One big focus among donors: charities that address food insecurity.

Photo of Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable
Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable
(Image credit: Photograph by Stacy Howell)

Pamela Norley is president of Fidelity Charitable, the largest donor-advised fund in the U.S. Fidelity recently published “Women and Giving,” an analysis of how the pandemic affected women’s philanthropy.

Since her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Scott has given away more than $8 billion. What can women—and donors in general—learn from Scott’s philanthropy? It’s really exciting to see her sense of urgency with respect to giving. She’s doing it very quickly, with a recognition of the need that’s out there because of the pandemic. Scott has been identifying charitable organizations that generally have not been well funded. They don’t do a lot of marketing or have a lot of publicity. But the big thing she’s doing, which is very well received in the nonprofit community, is making un­restricted donations. When people make unrestricted donations, they’re allowing the management of the nonprofit to use the money in the way that they deem best to address their mission.

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Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.