Key Points

· Community philanthropy is the giving of time, talent, and treasure that when invested locally is characteristic of positive change and lasting development.

· This article reports on a survey of 31 small Arkansas communities of 5,000 to 15,000 in population using open-ended descriptive questions. Responses were compared across communities to assess variation in giving/fundraising, civic engagement, and leadership.

· Data confirm that giving/fundraising was substantial, particularly in communities with populations of 8,000 or less.

· Findings show that people are giving not only their money, but also their services, time, and skills – especially in times of emergency response. Giving was not restricted to the wealthy but included various levels of generosity.

· The same leaders engage repeatedly, resulting in leadership fatigue.

· Community philanthropy is a viable innovation and, by growing the public will and momentum for its use, it could turn communities into healthy, equitable places where vulnerable families can succeed.

Open Access