With all the world’s hate for the U.S. based on a myriad of reasons from our system of government, to our president, to our foreign policy… I’d just like to bring light to a fact that inspired an article on CNN today: Americans donated more money to charities worldwide than the citizens of any other country– twice as much in fact than the second most charitable country which was Britain.
In total, Americans donated almost $300 billion to charities last year in response to the needs created by the Asian tsunami, and hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita. Excluding relief funds for various disasters around the world, the 2006 total of philanthropic giving in the U.S. rose 3.2 percent from the previous year– the largest chunk of that money (32.8 percent) was given to religious organizations and the second largest (13.9 percent) was given toward non-profit organizations that promote education (colleges, universities, and libraries) according to the Giving USA Foundation at Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy.
What’s even more impressive is that while it would make sense that large corporations would give the majority of those donations for the tax write-offs, 75.6 percent of the total came from individuals, and approximately 65 percent of households with incomes less than $100,000 gave to charity.
Individuals gave a combined 75.6 percent of the total. With bequests, that rises to 83.4 percent.
The CNN article stated this:
“It tells you something about American culture that is unlike any other country,” said 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.” Gaudiani said the willingness of Americans to give cuts across income levels, and their investments go to developing ideas, inventions and people to the benefit of the overall economy.”
So while we tend to be the object of hate from many other countries, we aren’t all bad. In general, I think American culture perpetuates a solidarity that inspires us to help other people in need– either on our own soil or beyond.
Props to us! God Bless America.