Promoting charity – Focus on diversity

To continue the growth in giving that has been fueled by the economic boom in the U.S. will depend on investing in new strategies to encourage future philanthropic behavior, the White House says.

“Americans may not be inherently more generious than they have been in the past,” says a new report on philanthropy by the Council of Economic Advisers.

“In particular, the amount that people give at any particular level of income and wealth appears to be about the same as in the past, but the sheer amount of wealth has increased dramatically, leading to an increase in charitable donations.”

The report, issued a year after the President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton convened the first White House Conference on Philanthropy, found that charitable giving in the U.S. reached a record high of more than $190 billion in 1999, up 41 percent since 1995.

Giving as a fraction of the gross domestic product grew to 2.1 percent in 1999 from 1.7 percent in 1995.

The report found that growth in the income and wealth of the population accounted for much of the trend in greater giving.

It also found that the elderly are more generous donors than any other age group; that single women are more likely to give than single men; and that blacks are more likely to give than whites.

And it found that the Internet and high-tech industry have affected methods of giving.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Clinton challenged young people to “discover the rewards of generosity,” the Associated Press reported Nov. 26.

He also announced a $2 million privately funded initiative to train young people to identify charitable needs in their communities, teach them how to raise and give away money, and build leadership skills.

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