THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON'S RADIO ADDRESS TO THE NATION: BUILDING A STRONGER CIVIL SOCIETY November 25, 2000
Today in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will report that we continue to strengthen our civil society in America through record levels of charitable giving, a renewed commitment to teaching philanthropy to our young people, and a more inclusive approach to federal partnerships with nonprofits. The President will unveil a report by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) confirming that charitable giving is on the rise and exploring the tremendous potential for even greater giving in the future. President Clinton also will highlight new survey results showing that Americans overwhelmingly support teaching young people about charitable giving and will announce an initiative to engage youth in philanthropic activities. Finally, the President will share findings from his Task Force on Nonprofits and Government showing that the Clinton-Gore Administration has fundamentally changed the way government does business by developing innovative partnerships with nonprofits in every federal agency. This progress builds on the Administration's strong record of enhancing our civil society by encouraging charitable giving, strengthening the capacity of nonprofits, and promoting community service, especially among young people.
CEA REPORT SHOWS RECORD GIVING and WIDESPREAD GENEROSITY. A new Council of Economic Advisers report on philanthropy shows that charitable giving reached a record high in 1999, surging to over $190 billion. This represents a 43 percent increase since 1993. Giving has grown even faster than Gross Domestic Product, rising from 1.7 percent of GDP in 1995 to 2.1 percent in 1999, the highest level in nearly three decades. The report shows that the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans were responsible for two-thirds of all charitable contributions in 1999. However, the wealthiest Americans give a far lower percent of their net worth than those of more modest means. In 1999, those in the middle 20 percent of the wealth distribution donated nearly twice as large a fraction of their net worth as the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans (0.7 versus 0.4 percent of total wealth). The report found that seniors are especially generous. After accounting for differences in financial resources, they are approximately 25 percent more likely to make a charitable contribution than those near middle age. In addition, older Americans who do give, contribute substantially more -- approximately $500-$600 more on average per year. Consequently, the aging of the Baby Boomers and the wealth of that cohort bodes well for the future of philanthropy, assuming they continue the same generous tradition of giving in their older years as their parents and grandparents.
Youth philanthropy initiative WILL promote lifelong giving. Findings from the Cone/Roper "Raising Charitable Children" Survey released today reveal that 92 percent of American adults believe that encouraging children to participate in charities helps them to grow up to be better citizens, but the majority of parents report that they do not currently expose their children to philanthropy. The Youth Giving Project, a new, privately-funded initiative that was developed with federal leadership, is being launched this spring in four regions across the country -- from California to Washington, D.C. -- to create opportunities for youth of all backgrounds to become active citizens by learning about community needs, serving as volunteers, generating resources through matched contributions to nonprofit organizations, and making informed decisions about the allocation of these philanthropic resources. A number of major foundations have helped plan this initiative -- including the AOL Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ewing M. Kauffman Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. Additional information on this new collaboration is available at www.helping.org.
TASK FORCE HIGHLIGHTS STRONG Government-nonprofit partnerships. The final report of the President's Interagency Task Force on Nonprofits and Government, which will be released later this week, reflects the priority that the Clinton-Gore Administration has placed on developing meaningful and innovative partnerships between federal agencies and private nonprofits. The report demonstrates the central role of national nonprofits and community and faith-based organizations, including the ability to do grassroots mobilizing around shared goals, increase outreach to underserved populations, and share information. At the same time, the Task Force calls on government agencies to expand efforts to reach out to new nonprofit partners and help develop their capacity to provide critically needed services -- from afterschool programs to environmental cleanup -- and enhance the cultural life in communities throughout our nation.
A STRONG RECORD OF BUILDING AMERICA'S CIVIL SOCIETY. These efforts and accomplishments build on the Clinton-Gore Administration's strong record of promoting charitable giving, service, and increased dialogue to bring communities together. In October 1999, the President and First Lady hosted the White House Conference on Philanthropy. At this Conference, they created the Task Force on Nonprofits and Government, called for the CEA report on philanthropy and the economy, and raised the visibility of issues -- such as youth philanthropy, venture philanthropy, and internet-facilitated "e-philanthropy." In fact, earlier this fall, the White House Millennium Council co-sponsored an extremely successful conference on e-philanthropy in San Jose, California to explore expanding giving through the internet. In his FY 2001 budget, President Clinton proposed changes to the tax code to encourage greater giving by both individuals and foundations. Although Congress did not act on these proposals this year, the President challenges the next Congress to enact these important measures.
This Administration also made it a key priority to promote community service, especially among young people. Nearly 150,000 young people have joined the AmeriCorps program, launched by President Clinton in 1993. In 1997, President Clinton, together will all of the living Presidents, organized the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, which yielded thousands of national, state, and local commitments of time, money, and donated goods and services. Mrs. Clinton has also spearheaded the Vital Voices initiative to encourage women around the world to recognize and celebrate their critical role in expanding the nonprofit sector, strengthening democracy and promoting peace in their communities. Finally, the President has led the nation in an effort to become One America in the 21st Century, challenging Americans to respect others' differences and, at the same time, embrace the common values that unite us. Due to the leadership and commitment of the Clinton-Gore Administration, our nation's civil society has grown stronger and more vibrant.
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