How Philly Businesses Are Giving Back in Times of Need

According to a report from Kindset, the average personal donation was approximately $608 in 2020, with the amount of charity increasing nationally by 25% in the last holiday season compared to 2019. Pennsylvanians, specifically, gave an average of $489 last year, up $69 from the year before.

Regarding charitable donations, David Semerad, Co-Founder of Kindset, said: “Historically, when there is a global crisis, usually what happens is there is a little bit of a downturn when it comes to large checks. When it comes to individuals and the amount of people who care about what’s going on in the world, it actually goes up by a lot.”

This is the case for local Philly businesses, pivoting from their traditional means of gaining profit to finding ways to generate proceeds to benefit those most in need.

Local family-owned business, City Planter, saw a need to lift struggling individuals and businesses up through giving back. Owner, Sue White, and her husband, Peter Smith, started The Garage, an online yard sale featuring significantly discounted plants and blemished pots in need of tender, loving care.

Interest in houseplants was high before the pandemic, but the enthusiasm for caring for them has increased even more over the last year, as people have come to the realization that cultivating greenery in their homes can be therapeutic. Studies have shown it is a hobby capable of boosting relaxation, happiness, and attentiveness, which can be hard to come by under today’s circumstances.

The goal of the project was to donate all proceeds to regional organizations including West Philadelphia’s Mill Creek Urban Farm and the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania. As of late January, City Planter has donated $631 to the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania and $1,083 to Mill Creek Urban Farm, which is run by people of color.

“Caring for plants and caring about your community are really similar. It takes a certain kind of person to take on plant care as a career, and that kind of empathy extends to the community, as well.”

Sue White, Owner of City Planter

Similarly, True Hand Society, a tattoo studio and graphic design company located two miles from City Planter, created a line of merchandise emblazoned with “Leave Philly Alone” early in the pandemic stages. “It came up as a way to promote shelter in place and social distancing,” said Mike Ski, the Owner of True Hand.

The company donated $10 from the sale of each T-shirt, sweater, pin, or flag that featured the slogan, allowing recipients to use the money as they wish. Ski says funds have often been allocated toward bills and staff, as True Hand has lost a lot of their regular business. As of last month, Leave Philly Alone had raised $90,000.

Information provided by The Philadelphia Inquirer.