Brits and Canadians most likely to give to charity

People in the UK are more likely to give to charity that any other nation. More than 80% of Brits made charitable cash donations in the past year, according to international poll by UnLtdWorld.com.

In second place was Canada, where 77 per cent of respondents said they had made a donation, France ( 62 %), Switzerland (59 %) and in 5th place the U.S. (44 %).

The study also included people from Iceland, Spain, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Italy, Sweden and Denmark.


Need, not greed, as motivation for kids

A few years ago, my son asked that, instead of getting him presents for his 11th birthday, guests donate to a certain charitable undertaking in India.

Too many kids in our materialist society, if asked if they would like to do something similar for their birthday might look at you strangely and answer, “No way!”

Like most parents, I want my kids to evolve into caring citizens who are aware of and want to help others. It’s not always easy to find the right way to do it — to walk the fine line between opening their eyes and guilt-tripping, between understanding the differences and needs of others and patronizing them.

So we can be thankful that promoting philanthropy among children and young people is suddenly becoming a hot topic. There is a new NBC show, “The Philanthropist,” about a dashing globetrotter who provides relief to the needy and oppressed. In May, AOL started an initiative with the Philanthropy Project. Last month, a group of about 20 representatives of different universities and colleges gathered at Brandeis University for the first national conference on teaching philanthropy.

Why now? I would think that in these economic times, people would be hunkering down, worrying about themselves and their own needs, rather than others.

Not so, said Susan Crites Price, author of “The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to Help Others” (Council on Foundations, 2001).“Talk about a teachable moment,” Ms. Price said. “This economy was clearly brought on by greed, and this is a time we need to step up and help people who need help.”

[Includes excerpt of New York times article by Alina Tugend]


The Fresh Faces of Philanthropy

Kids are becoming high-profile CEOs of their own nonprofit groups.

Timothy Hwang and Minsoo Han, now seniors at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, started their organization, Operation Fly, when they were 14. They raise money through tutoring -- charging much less than the market rate -- and use the money to distribute blankets, clothing and soap to Washington's homeless people. Operation Fly has spread to five cities, with 800 volunteers, and is entirely student-run.

Brittany and Robbie Bergquist were 13 and 12 when they heard about a soldier overseas who couldn't pay the phone bill for his calls home. They quickly found that they could help, raising money by selling back old cellphones to be recycled. Since then, the Massachusetts siblings have sent more than 600,000 phone cards to troops and raised more than $5 million.

Young philanthropists devote hundreds of hours to their causes, making appeals many donors find irresistible even in tough economic times.

"When you see a kid, it seems more trustworthy, less jaundiced," said Andrew Hahn, a professor and director of the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis University.

Bill Conley, dean of enrollment and academic services at Johns Hopkins University, said college admissions officials are seeing ever-more impressive philanthropic efforts from students trying to get into elite colleges. That is definitely a strong plus on an application, he said.


Students find giving away money not as easy as one might think

College students, many of whom spend the little extra cash they have on pizza and laundry, don’t fit the typical profile of a wealthy benefactor. But in a growing national movement, students enrolled in newly created philanthropy courses are steering thousands of dollars to local charities.

In the classes, students draw up mission statements for makeshift foundations, research nonprofits in their communities, and decide how to allocate the pot of money. The goal, say professors and donors, is to build upon surging interest in social responsibility among college students and make philanthropy part of the mainstream curriculum.

“Some of these kids will become very wealthy in the future,’’ said Paul Schervish, a sociology professor and director of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, who will soon begin teaching experiential philanthropy classes. “The professors see that this is a way to teach financial morality in the realm of philanthropy.’’

But teaching students how to give away money responsibly is more complicated than one would think. At Tufts, where classes have disbursed $30,000 in the past three years, students learn to be grant writers and discerning grant makers.

“The hands-on experience of writing a grant, evaluating a grant, and then giving real money away made the whole class feel like it had a tangible purpose,’’ said Laura McNulty, 22. “It made students feel more accountable for the work they were doing.’’

Her grant-writing experience and knowledge of what foundations look for when making funding decisions was invaluable in helping her secure a $10,000 grant to start her own nonprofit.



11-year-old recognized for his part fighting homelessness

11-year-old Zach Bonner started his own nonprofit organization four years ago after a hurricane hit Florida. He asked his mother if they could donate their water bottles, and he gathered more from neighbors, an earnest little redheaded boy pulling his red wagon behind him. By the end, they had 27 truckloads of aid.

It was such a simple, innocent symbol of kindness that lots of people wanted to help. The Little Red Wagon Foundation kept growing.

And it got less simple. Somewhere along the road, Zach's little red wagon turned into an 18-wheeler.

Now a Los Angeles publicist with Prada glasses promotes Zach's walks to the media. Zach has met three presidents. He was scheduled to visit Elton John at his concert at Nationals Park and accept a $25,000 check.

And an Emmy-award winning journalist, Michael Guillen, is making a $5 million film about the Little Red Wagon.

When Guillen told him that the Philanthropy Project was going to make a movie about him, Zach dropped his head and cried a little, Guillen said. "He said, 'But I'm so small.' "

[The Washington Times]