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"Charity In The Us" A Paper Discussing Current Trends Of Philanthropy In America And Also The Risks And Scams Involved In Giving

2295 words - 9 pages

The idea of charity first emerged at the end of the 19th century, when large corporations began helping finance voluntary agencies and religious groups. Today, the idea of philanthropy, the spirit of active goodwill toward others as demonstrated in efforts to promote their welfare, has become so accepted in America that few now escape the demands of giving. In fact, many important institutions are partly or wholly dependent on it. Philanthropy has been organized and coordinated to eliminate much of the spontaneity of giving. Wealth is disbursed by individuals but especially by fund-raising activities of non-profit organizations and foundations. However, in an economy based on freedom, Americans make their own decisions about whether or not to give, how much they give, who they give to, and what they give for. The "business" of donation is a larger part of our economy than most realize and affects not only the groups on the receiving end but those who give as well. Therefore, attention must be paid to the means and modes of charity in the United States. Who gives? How much do they give? To whom do they give? And, perhaps most importantly, what kind of an impact does what they give actually have on their cause?Americans gave an estimated $212 billion to charity in 2001, according to research findings in Giving USA. The report is published by the AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy and is researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. It answers some widely raised questions about how charitable giving fared in a year of recession and crisis. In spite of the recession, charitable contributions in 2001 stayed above 2.0 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). "Americans' commitment to philanthropy remained strong even in the face of downward economic pressures. The $212 billion total is the highest level of giving ever reported. Even adjusted for inflation, the total is the second highest on record. Once again giving sustained a string of increases each year since 1955 except for 1987," according to John J. Glier, chair of the American Association of Fundraising Counsel (AAFRC). "People are more aware than ever of the role philanthropy plays in our lives and communities," said Eugene R. Tempel, Ed.D., CFRE, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.Indeed, this is an increase of one-half of one percent (0.5 percent) over the $210.89 billion now estimated for total giving in 2000. Adjusted for inflation, giving in 2001 is a decrease of 2.3 percent compared to the previous year. This was to be expected. In six of the eight recession years since 1971, giving dropped by 1 to 5 percent when adjusted for inflation. When economic indicators grow more slowly or fall, so does the rate of growth in giving. In 2001, personal income, one of the most critical indicators, grew at the slowest rate (inflation-adjusted) since 1993. The stock market fell. The instability of the capital markets, the drop in corporate...

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