Americans and Charity 2015
On January 29, 2016, Karl Zinmeister delivered a talk on philanthropy at Hillsdale University. Part of this talk was printed in Imprimus, http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/ a free, monthly publication. I strongly encourage all Classical Historian readers to subscribe to this newsletter. Many facts and ideas of this week’s current event article are presented here. We also used Mr. Zinmeister’s article found at this address: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/donor_intent/donation
Americans donate more than any other people on Earth. Per capita, Americans donate seven times as much as the average European. The charitable sector of our economy is much greater than the size of our national defense, comprising 11 percent of our country’s workforce, and 6% of America’s gross domestic product. On top of this, there are between four and ten million full-time volunteer employees. In 2015, Americans gave over $300 billion to charity. Of this amount, 15% came from charitable foundations, 6% came from corporations, and 79% came from individual Americans.
Zinmeister writes that the giving nature of Americans has an incredible influence on our society. One area charitable giving has affected is the education of citizens. In 1880, Ohio had three million inhabitants and 37 colleges. England had 23 million inhabitants but only four colleges. One reason for this difference is that in England, the four colleges were public, built and run by the government of England. In Ohio, however, most of the colleges were private, founded by thousands of small, individual donations. Throughout America, hundreds of private universities were founded by thousands of individual donations.
It is amazing to ponder the amount of donations Americans give. The Gates Foundation donates more assistance overseas than the entire Italian government. Its work with helping children is believed to save 8 million kids in its first two decades. Americans in churches and synagogues send four and a half times as much the Gates Foundation does. And, private American philanthropic aid is more than the entire foreign aid budget of the U.S. government. Most American families who donate give in amounts less than $2,500 annually.
Mr. Zinmeister offers three reasons why Americans lead the world in giving. He notes that the U.S.A. is the most religious industrialized nation in the world. Zinmeister writes, “Religion motivates giving more than any other factor.” The second reason is that Americans believe in the idea of helping your neighbor. The third reason is entrepreneurialism. Americans are motivated to succeed by the idea of starting a company and providing a product or service that others need. Americans also like to support others to fulfill their dreams.
2/24/2016 04:30:40 am
I really value the service you are providing with these articles, and appreciate the perspective and information that you offer. Having said that, I would like to encourage you to edit them more carefully. Here, for example, you say that Americans give over 300 billion to charity. Is this annually? The figure needs context to be meaningful. Also, you state that "79% of American giving comes from individual households averaging under $2,500 per year". Is this correct, or is there a typo there? It seems to me that this statement must contain an error, because as written it seems highly implausible.
John De Gree
2/24/2016 09:00:13 pm
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John De Gree
John De Gree writes the current events with a look at the history of each topic. Articles are written for the young person, aged 10-18, and Mr. De Gree carefully writes so that all readers can understand the event. The perspective the current events are written in is Judeo-Christian.
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