Blog author: jballor
Friday, October 27, 2006

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48 NIV).

When Bank of America Philanthropic Management noticed that “the wealthiest 3% of American households responsible for nearly two-thirds of charitable giving,” it decided to study philanthropic giving. (The top 5% paid 54.4% of taxes in 2003.)

Passed on by Don’t Tell the Donor, “Bank of America today released the initial results of the most comprehensive survey to-date of the philanthropic behavior of wealthy Americans. The Bank of America High Net-Worth Philanthropy Study was conducted by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University for Bank of America.”

Among the key findings:

  • Dean Ohlman

    Regarding philanthropy, it would be interesting to know how much “philanthropy” is merely putting money into causes that are likely to provide even more rewards to the donor?

    Since Acton helps soothe the consciences of conservatives about letting the supposed “trickle down” factor bless the poor and disenfranchised, instead of giving directly to those who need it, their “philanthropy” earns them psychological dividends when they donate to Acton.

    Heirs to the Amway fortunes, for instance, are far more likely to give to Acton in regard to environmental legislation than they are to the Sierra Club. The reason is in part because they want Acton to do all it can to “educate” conservatives in libertarian, laissez-faire economics and reduce the efforts of environmental groups to compel business and industry to spend money on environmentally sound business and manufacturing practices.

    Philanthropy is not necessarily compassion in action. It will often, if not mostly, be an investment in entities that promise rewards of some kind to the donor.

    Look at who the givers are and note who they give to — then connect the dots.

    Yes, power corrupts. And the greatest power is often in the hands of wealthy “philanthropists” who with their money put the lawmakers in office.

  • a fundraiser

    Thanks for the link.