Philanthropy in America

December 8, 2006 • Volume 16, Issue 43
Are Americans generous givers?
By Peter Katel

Introduction

A tuberculosis sufferer and double amputee in South Africa tells Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda about the treatments he receives. Disease prevention in the Third World is a key priority of the $31 billion Gates Foundation.  (AP Photo/Sharon Farmer/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
A tuberculosis sufferer and double amputee in South Africa tells Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda about the treatments he receives. Disease prevention in the Third World is a key priority of the $31 billion Gates Foundation. (AP Photo/Sharon Farmer/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has a message for wealthy Americans: Give away your money. Last June Buffett announced he was donating 85 percent of his $44 billion fortune, most of it earmarked for a charitable foundation established by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda. Although Americans donated more than $7 billion for hurricane, tsunami and earthquake relief in 2005, the super-rich, in general, have not stepped up their donations to match the economy's growth. Some in the philanthropy community argue, in fact, that Americans' self-image as uniquely generous is overblown. Meanwhile, the foundations that are a mainstay of U.S. philanthropy need more public oversight, critics say. And some scholars question whether charitable organizations are funding medical and other services that the government should provide.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Philanthropy and Charities
May 11, 2012  Celebrity Advocacy
Aug. 03, 2007  Corporate Social Responsibility
Dec. 08, 2006  Philanthropy in America
Jan. 22, 1999  Role of Foundations
Feb. 27, 1998  The New Corporate Philanthropy
Nov. 12, 1993  Charitable Giving
Dec. 23, 1988  Philanthropy: the Season for Giving
Dec. 12, 1986  New Faces of Charity
Dec. 03, 1982  The Charity Squeeze
Jan. 11, 1974  American Philanthropy
Mar. 05, 1969  Voluntary Action: People and Programs
Mar. 20, 1963  Tax-Exempt Foundations: Privileges and Policies
Oct. 12, 1955  Joint Fund Raising
Sep. 11, 1953  Charity Appeals
Jan. 05, 1949  Tax Exempt Foundations
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Charities and Philanthropy