Born 1900-1945

National Edge Survey
Traditionalist population: 39 million
• How many give: 79 percent
• Average amount given annually: $1,066
• Average number of charities given to: 6.3
• Estimated annual contributions: $32.7 billion

*TCB Readers in this Generation:
• Help support seven or more charities annually (47 percent)
• Prefer to be contacted by charities through mail (48 percent) or e-mail (19 percent)
• First heard about their top charity through word of mouth (34 percent) or at a peer-to-peer event (21 percent)
• Have made charitable contributions in last two years by sending a check by mail (92 percent), at a fundraising event (72 percent), and as an honor or tribute gift (48 percent)

Like many of her fellow Traditionalists, Polly McCrea learned how to give back to the community through her parents, who lived through the Depression and were members of the Greatest Generation. Her father, a bank executive and community leader, and her mother helped start The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and headed many United Way campaigns; both parents stressed the importance of giving time and money to charity.

So throughout her life—even when McCrea and her husband, Bob, each were running a business and raising three children—she has devoted countless hours and significant resources to many causes. For example, McCrea, who graduated from Carleton College with a degree in biology, enjoys horticulture and now serves as president of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation’s board of trustees. She also volunteers at her church and the Lake Minnetonka Garden Club, and she recently completed board service at Carleton College and Opportunity International, an Illinois-based micro-financing organization that provides small loans to entrepreneurs around the world.

In addition, McCrea, 70, and Bob have raised funds for many charities, and they belong to the One Percent Club, giving away significant dollars each year to a variety of organizations.

The McCreas typically do not respond to direct mail solicitations from charities, choosing instead to support those where they volunteer as well as other causes they find intriguing or vital to the community.

The McCreas have frequently, but not exclusively, gotten connected to organizations through the volunteer work of friends. “In general, we want to serve organizations that have a mission that resonates with us,” says McCrea. “We continue to support organizations annually that we were involved with, and we love to support organizations that we’re not involved with but we know young people who are. We want to encourage them in their work.”


*Statistics about giving habits among TCB readers came from a survey that 1,189 people completed online in December and January.