IN recent years philanthropic giving has gone the way of the rest of the economy, with bigger and bigger gifts and bequests by the ultrawealthy and lower and middle-income workers squeezed to the point where making ends meet trumps charity as a matter of necessity.

In America, the 2017 rewrite of the nations tax code also meant that lower taxpayers have have been itemizing their deductions and therefore can't claim donations to reduce their tax bill.

''Younger folks especially seem to be want to more engaged in their giving. to see results, to see the personal connection,'' said Alan J. Abramson, director at the Center for Nonprofit Management, Philanthropy and Policy at George Mason University in Virginia.

''The need is concrete - to pay a bill. You feel like you can even make a difference if it's a finite amount that needs to be raised, as opposed to the important work that other nonprofits are doing fighting poverty on a larger scale.''

Mr. Serrano, 38, grew up in south San Antonio, with his father driving a bus for the city and his mother working at a corner store.

He ended up in Houston working as a middle school science teacher, explaining cellular structure and the periodic table to eight graders.

His wife was also teaching, and they made a comfortable enough living on their two salaries until she gave birth to twins and had to stop working after medical complications.

''All of a sudden, it's one person making $42,000 a year for four people,'' Mr. Serrano said. Housing costs and car payment took up $2,000 of the $2,200 he brought each month. Everything else was a hustle, including writing blog posts for as little as $20 each.

He landed a job with the website Grantland, since shut down by its parent company, ESPN, that enabled him to quit his teaching job and begin developing his fan base.

Mr. Serrano's Twitter feed is highly personal. with photographs of his wife and three children, posts about the ups and downs of his beloved San Antonio Spurs and observations about his favorite TV show.

He has included charitable giving drives on his Twitter feed for some time, whether for a local nonprofit, relief for hurricane victims or simply help for people who need money to buy their children Christmas presents.

When Mr. Serrano started sending money recently, he quickly hit Venmo's daily $3,000 transfer limit. A contact at PayPal, which owns Venmo, helped him get an exemption, he said.

Mr. Serrano said he thought part of the reason he led the charity drives on Twitter, was to recapture some of the good feeling he got from working as a teacher, but also to fight the same feeling of helplessness that many experienced.

''There's nothing I can do about this thing besides keeping my family inside the house for the next two weeks,'' Mr. Serrano said.

''For those two hours we were doing it, you got not to think about the crappy part of everything for a bit and think about - there's not going to be good coming out of it, but we can do good.''

The Honor and Serving of Great Humans and Work, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Alan Rappeport, Emily Cochrane and Nicholas Fandos for contribution.


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