Americans reach into their pockets twice as much as the next most charitable country according to a November 2006 comparison done by the Charities Aid Foundation, and in that year, 2006, Americans donated an estimated $295.02 billion (emphasis added)—up from $283.05 billion in 2005.1 “It tells you something about American culture that is unlike any other country,” says Claire Gaudiani, a professor at NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and author of The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism.2, 3
And the generosity of spirit that is such an American hallmark can be found at every level of the culture. Even the poor give, and of that nearly $300 billion, individuals and families gave a combined 75.6% of the total, with bequests that rose to 83.4%.4 As a percentage of gross domestic product, the Americans were first at 1.7%, with the British in second place with 0.73%.1 Think about that number for a moment—$295 billion. That tells us that as individuals and families, we spent over $24.5 billion a month serving that which is good and life affirming as we understand it. That is twice what our government spends each month on the Iraq War. Is it any wonder we are a nation in conflict?
Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing
November 2008 (Vol. 4, Issue 6, Pages 357-358)