March 25, 2013

Charitable Giving

According to an article in the April issue of The Atlantic titled, "Why the Rich Don't Give to Charity," Ken Stern reports that the wealthiest Americans donate 1.3% of their income to charity while the poorest Americans donate 3.2%. Stern’s book, With Charity for All: Why Charities Are Failing and a Better Way to Give, was published in February.

Stern writes, "One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income. The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns." 

The articles continues: "Wealth affects not only how much money is given but to whom it is given. The poor tend to give to religious organizations and social-service charities, while the wealthy prefer to support colleges and universities, arts organizations, and museums." Read complete article