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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 22, 1999
                            October 22, 1999

Today the President and First Lady, with the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH), will convene the first-ever "White House Conference on Philanthropy: Gifts to the Future." The conference will bring together individuals who are engaged in philanthropy -- including charitable donors, youth, policy experts, and representatives from non-profit organizations, foundations, and educational programs -- to highlight the unique American tradition of charitable giving; to discuss the diverse and changing face of philanthropy; and at a time of the strongest economy in a generation, to explore how to preserve and expand this tradition for future generations.

Focusing On Philanthropic Giving As The New Millennium Approaches: As the new millennium approaches, the American tradition of philanthropic giving may take a new turn. Several recent economic, demographic and technological advances and trends have made this an important time to focus on charitable giving, such as:
- Giving has reached a new high, rising over 10% in 1998, the third consecutive year in which giving increased. - Dramatic gifts from some of America's wealthiest citizens have drawn new attention to philanthropy and inspired debate about appropriate giving levels.
- At the same time, there is a growing recognition that as the demographic profile of the United States changes, giving by African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and other people of color is essential to the long-term health of the nonprofit sector and the expansion of our collective philanthropic tradition.
- Just as the strongest economy in a generation has produced unprecedented new wealth, the baby boom generation is poised to inherit $12 trillion from their parents.
- New technology is creating new avenues for giving, through for-profit and nonprofit Internet sites. - And finally, new donors, particularly those who have made their fortunes in the technology boom, have become innovators in the world of philanthropy, as they look for greater involvement in the causes they support and greater accountability for results. These "venture philanthropists" find kindred spirits among new social entrepreneurs who are applying new thinking and business solutions to the problems that plague our communities.

Clinton Administration Commitments:
At the conference, the President and Mrs. Clinton will announce new Administration commitments to improve our understanding of giving and to encourage subsequent activities and dialogue on giving.

Encouraging Productive Partnerships Between Government and Nonprofits

Corporate and Private Commitments to Expand Giving: The President and Mrs. Clinton also will highlight several new private initiatives to encourage the expansion of charitable giving, such as:

Building on the White House Conference on Philanthropy:

Engaging Communities Around the Country: A portion of the "White House Conference on Philanthropy" will be broadcast via satellite, presenting an extraordinary opportunity for communities across the country to participate in this important discussion. Over 3,500 sites in 40 states will view the conference via satellite, with the assistance of a grant from the Charles Mott Foundation and the support of SCETV, and the Department of Education. An additional 10.1 million viewers around the country will have access to viewing the conference through PBS and cable channels' live broadcasts.

The White Conference on Philanthropy is made possible with the support of The National Endowment for the Humanities, South Carolina Educational Television, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Community Foundation-Silicon Valley, The J. Paul Getty Trust, the Iscol Family Foundation, The Marcie Polier Family Foundation, the American Red Cross, and the United Way of America.