Grass Roots Philanthropy

My friend Karen recently added to her Facebook wall a 2006 article by John Stossel titled Who gives to charity?
I found it interesting and thought that I would share a few excerpts:
Americans are pretty generous. Three-quarters of American families give to charity -- and those who do, give an average of $1,800. Of course that means one-quarter of us don't give at all. What distinguishes those who give from those who don't?
The idea that liberals give more is a myth. Of the top 25 states where people give an above-average percentage of their income, all but one (Maryland) were red -- conservative -- states in the last presidential election.
The second myth is that people with the most money are the most generous. But while the rich give more in total dollars, low-income people give almost 30 percent more as a share of their income.
"Religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly nonreligious charities. Religious people give more blood; religious people give more to homeless people on the street."
Generally speaking, I think that middle class folks are a bit more compassionate and generous than wealthier folks because they are often closer to folks who are struggling to make a living. And in tough economic times the boundaries between middle class and working poor are pretty fuzzy. Have you found this to be true in your life?

... originally posted in September 2011.


  1. It is my understanding that the better one can understand the problems people face the more likely they will be to give to them.

  2. I do agree with this premise. I never particularly thought that it was that I was closer to the needy or close to being needy, but I do feel that it is the compassion that compels..or the love of Christ.

    I'm not a fan of Obama, but i understand that his charitable giving was more than one would expect...according to the fact that liberals are not very liberal in their giving.

  3. i'm curious to see more recent statistics, and also to know how the data is gathered.

    i know plenty of people who donate money/time/possessions but don't keep track of it in any way.

    is this data collected by the givers of by the receivers... just things i'm wondering while reading.

    it is encouraging to read that such a large portion of the population gives back in some way.

  4. The middle gives also because they are treating those as they want to be treated themselves.


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