Today marks the one year anniversary of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy and we celebrate the triumph of those who have overcome catastrophe. Amid the horror, the American spirit of giving was on full display as complete strangers offered up their homes, their blood, their money, and other resources to help those in need. This spirit of giving is befitting of an event whose early history is centered on an act of generosity. The following excerpt from Philanthropy magazine’s Roadtrip Across Philanthropic America offers an insight into that history:
“I deem it the duty of every man to devote a certain portion of his income for charitable purposes; and that it is his further duty to see it so applied and to do the most good for which it is capable.” -Thomas Jefferson
April 13 marks the 271st birthday of one of our nation’s most prominent founding fathers: Thomas Jefferson. While Jefferson clearly advocated for charity during his life, perhaps his most well-known philanthropic-related effort came when he offered his vast personal collection of books to reestablish the Library of Congress.
Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association Discusses Private Giving and Washington's Library
MOUNT VERNON, VA—Barbara Lucas, regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, discusses the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, and the critical role private giving plays at Mount Vernon.
This is the second of a two-part feature on private giving and the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. Click here to see part one of the feature.
How Private Giving Realized One of Washington's Final Desires
In a letter to James McHenry in April 1797, a recently-retired George Washington wrote of his desire to build a library at his home at Mount Vernon.
“I have not houses to build, except one, which I must erect for the accommodation and security of my military, civil and private papers, which are voluminous and may be interesting,” Washington wrote.
Washington’s desire was realized 217 years later when on September 27, 2013, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington opened at Mount Vernon.
This is the first of a two-part feature on private giving and the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. Tomorrow we will share an extended video of our interview with Barbara Lucas, regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.
By Adam Meyerson
The Philanthropy Roundtable is deeply concerned about recent remarks made by Aaron Dorfman, executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, before a leading regional association of grantmakers:
By Adam Meyerson
From the Winter 2014 issue of Philanthropy magazine
This is a time of great national conflict. Our political leaders are making fundamental choices about the future of economic growth and job creation, entitlement programs, and the role of government in health care. The American people are deeply divided on many of these issues, and our federal government can sometimes seem dysfunctional, even paralyzed.
By Howard Husock
The report by The Chronicle of Philanthropy that the top ten philanthropic gifts in the year past totaled $3.4 billion, and that there were more gifts of $100 million or more in 2013 (15), than in 2012 (11), serves as a reminder of American generosity. Indeed, U.S. charitable gifts total twice as large a percentage of gross domestic product (2.2 percent) as the next-closest country (the United Kingdom, 1.1 percent.)
A Preview of the Winter 2014 Edition of Philanthropy Magazine
Today is the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty and the occasion is being marked with his daughter, Lynda Johnson Robb, attending a ceremony on Capitol Hill. While the effort to combat poverty over the last half century has been significant, there is no denying that the problem continues. As the New York Times recently noted:
A Dec. 6 op-ed in The New York Times questioned the income tax charitable deduction as “wasteful government spending” and also questioned the use of donor-advised funds and private foundations to sequester money that is supposed to go for charitable purposes. In so doing, author Ray D. Madoff suggested the charitable deduction itself should be investigated.
While some abuses of the charitable deduction do occur (conservation easements for golf course developers, for example), we should not be too quick to “throw out the baby with the bath water.”
Madoff made no mention of the contributions to our economy made by the nonprofit sector. The nonprofit community is an enormous contributor to the American economy: It provides 5.5 percent of the nation’s entire GDP, released by the National Center for Charitable Statistics.
Howard Husock, vice president for policy research at the Manhattan Institute, is the latest featured guest in our Free to Give series. In this interview, Husock discusses the newly-released study from the American Enterprise Institute on charitable giving; the charitable deduction; independent philanthropy representing our democratic ideals; and the roles government and independent philanthropy play in our civil society.