Study Says US is 'Most Generous' Country

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Memphis Food Bank (Memphis Food Bank)

Here's some uplifting news for the holiday season. A new study finds that in 2011 Americans were the most generous people in the world. The U.S. rose from fifth place on the "World Giving Index" in 2010 to number one this year. Ireland placed second, followed by Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. What tipped the scale in the U.S.'s favor this year was not just monetary donations, but volunteer work and kindness to strangers.

Melissa Berman is president and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, which manages more than $200 million in annual giving and provides research and counsel on charitable giving. Nicoletta Lamarca Sacco is a Takeaway listener and Bergen County chapter coordinator at ASPEN, the Asperger Educational Network. She talks about why volunteering is an important part of her life.


Nicoletta Lamarca Sacco

Comments [21]

Mike from Seattle


Ever heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs?

Last I checked that which is essential to sustaining life is far more
urgent than education or vocabulary, or protest.

Well fed children learn better than those that are hungry.

Thanksgiving isn't changing a life entire. But, for one day it can make
a positive difference.

I expect you won't agree with me on this either.

So, we'll have to agree to disagree.

I can't change the system entire. Doesn't mean I can't try to. Doesn't mean I don't try to. Doesn't mean that the difference I try to make for the few I can, when I can is insignificant or meaningless. It is neither.

Not everyone is a politician, an activist, a zealous crusader for social justice or howsoever you choose to characterize your approach to making a

There's just as much room for your point of view as there is for mine.

Doesn't make you wrong. Doesn't make me right. Not trying to be right.
Trying to do right. Trying to make a difference.

Not likely to become the person you'd like me to be. Not likely to care
either. Don't have to answer to you. Have to answer to them what brought me into this world (mom and dad) and those who most immediately affect my life and its quality, namely my wife, and my employer). A short list that just doesn't include you.

Your life will go on and so will mine.

Dec. 21 2011 09:24 PM
anna from new york

"First things first."
Mike, you don't know how absurd whatever you say is. You live in a country between water and water (and Canada and Mexico) which hasn't had a war on its territory for over 150 years, a country rich in natural resources and you're bubbling about goodness of feeding people. Why don't you ask yourself a question why more than a half of the population in this country is poor and so many people are hungry. Maybe something isn't functioning and needs to be changed?

Dec. 21 2011 07:59 PM
anna from new york

Sorry, Mike, you missed my point. I had YOUR education (or lack thereof) in mind.
I find nothing, nothing, nothing more repulsive than serving of Thanksgiving turkey by the overfed to the abused and exploited. How about the hunger on the day after Thanksgiving?
Once again, Mike, go to some school, learn basic concepts, such as "system" and then we'll have an intelligent conversation .... maybe.

Dec. 21 2011 07:47 PM
Mike from Seattle

@anna from new york

I believe that people are far more amenable to having their minds changed
if their basic needs are met first.

I see people at our food bank every week. Next week, maybe I'll suggest that rather than providing them with food we:

"spend some money on [their] education and learn among other things such vocabulary, as brainwashing, systemic problem, collaboration with evil forces, total inability to think, illiteracy, etc."

Certainly nothing better for the homeless and hungry.

Besides, what would lead you to think I haven't done as you suggest?

You seem to think it's a more valuable use of time and money.

I'll ask the homeless and the hungry and get back to you on that.

People can't eat money. They can't eat an education.

Are they useful things to have? Absolutely.

First things first.

Dec. 21 2011 07:05 PM
anna from new york

Mike, can I suggest you spend some money on your education and learn among other things such vocabulary, as brainwashing, systemic problem, collaboration with evil forces, total inability to think, illiteracy, etc.

Dec. 21 2011 04:51 PM
Mike from Seattle

I don't remember where / how it began. I don't recall my parents being particularly charitable.

I make about 25k / year.

I work at a non-profit (w/foodbank).

On thanksgiving I buy meals for two (good sized families) with all the trimmings - turkey, potatoes, pumpkin pie, hot chocolate etc. (about $ 200).

Christmas, I spend another $ 200 either on bargain village gift certificates ($ 20 / ea) or at the local Cash and Carry.

The rest of the year, I spend money on my employer meeting their needs (tech support). The occasional network cables, hard drives, etc.

I learned early. I don't do it for recognition. I do it because it's the right thing to do. I do it because I can. I fill the need(s).

If I had more, if I made more, I'd do more. One year, for labor, I earned a computer and gave it away (my primary intention - I currently have two).

I'd say one of my favorite books and source of inspiration has been "The Giving Tree". Another is "I'm out to change MY corner of the world." Much like the guy who tosses a starfish back into the ocean. It might be a small act, but, it mattered to that one starfish.

We ARE a charitable nation. We may disagree politically, but on the whole we CARE and we find (large and small) ways to show it.

I truly wish our "leaders" could find some of that charity right about now. Stop scoring political points and just do what's RIGHT. No one will remember who won. EVERYONE will remember what it cost.

Dec. 21 2011 04:02 PM
anna from new york

"Can not believe the comments downing Jeane. Sounds like she came up with a great program and is proud of it. Sharing her idea might even inspire someone else to start something similar"
OK, I'll spell it out, slowly. PEOPLE ARE UNEMPLOYED AND THEY NEED JOBS. If Jeane is bored, she can learn how to read and read a book or two about other nations which function much better.

Dec. 21 2011 12:14 PM
D.L.Mc from Staten Island

Can not believe the comments downing Jeane. Sounds like she came up with a great program and is proud of it. Sharing her idea might even inspire someone else to start something similar.

I am do not understand when working for a non-profit came to be viewed as charity? Many charity CEO's make 6 figure salaries. It would be nice if we differentiated between those being paid for their good works and those donating freely of their time and labor.

Dec. 21 2011 11:36 AM
anna from new york

"The more Americans are charitable to the rest of the world, the more they sweep up the dirty boot prints of American government and industry."
The level of this discussion, showing how brainwashed Americans are, is terrifying. Try to be good (can stand this "charitable") to your own citizens _ don't EXPLOIT, don't throw out, don't cheat, don't steal - and maybe you "charity" won't be needed. Never thought about it? I know that.

Dec. 21 2011 11:31 AM
anna from new york

"To be truly charitable, giving should be done anonymously and with no expected benefit(s) to the giver."
You're missing the point. Giving should be absolutely the last resort and not INSTEAD of everything else - instead of health care, jobs, education, dignity, etc.
Again, this stealing and giving culture is barbaric.

Dec. 21 2011 11:26 AM

Jeane's ego is Jeane's albatross to bear. I say we need more "Jeanes" to balance out all the many who use their ego for more selfish, and sometimes destructive, endeavours. To paraphrase Gordon Gecko, "Giving is good." Whether you do it anonymously or with flags a-waving it's always good to do good things for others. The more Americans are charitable to the rest of the world, the more they sweep up the dirty boot prints of American government and industry.

Dec. 21 2011 10:39 AM
curtis woodhouse from Fort Lauderdale

To be truly charitable, giving should be done anonymously and with no expected benefit(s) to the giver. Far too much giving is done for the wrong reasons...recognition and ego enhancement being the most obvious!

Dec. 21 2011 09:52 AM
Giovanna Bellia La Maca from Cliffside Park, New Jerse

The Melissa Berman and Nicoletta Sacco interview was wonderful in pointing out the twofold generosity of donating money and volunteering your time and talents to charity. Making a contribution to a charity in honor of a friend or relative, including children, sure beats buying another thing since the best things in life are not "Things"!

Dec. 21 2011 09:43 AM
anna from new york

This "goodness" is exactly what has killed this country - the usual argument is - you don't need a civilised society with civilised structures because when you really need (like a meal when you're homeless) wonderful generous people (translation -ruthless bastards who pushed you in the street) will give it you (of course when you "behave" and worship them and beg, beg, beg)"

Dec. 21 2011 09:43 AM
anna from new york

My delicate and educated stomach can't stand this Orwellian garbage. Only slogans, cliches, platitudes. Competing with North Koreans?
And not-profit sector isn't the most ruthless place now, Melissa? Sure.

Dec. 21 2011 09:27 AM
anna from new york

Ha, ha, ha.
The countries which compete in "goodness" are all firmly in the same imperial British tradition - you literally rob the world and then drop generously your dirty underwear to your victims - for self-promotion, self-satisfaction and tax purpose.

Dec. 21 2011 08:06 AM
Giovanna Bellia La Marca from Cliffside Park, New Jersey

As a member of Central Unitarian Church in Paramus, New Jersey, we are proud of our Outreach Auction which takes place each year in November. This year we raised $35,000 all of which was immediately given away to 7 local Bergen County Charities which during this difficult time are in dire need of assistance. During the last 11 years we have raised and given away $275,000. It takes not only generous contributions but many dedicated volunteers to make this dream come true each year.

Dec. 21 2011 08:02 AM
anna from new york

Dear, Jeane,
We live in a society you've created - a society without any jobs (outsourcing, insourcing, exploitation, voluteering, etc.) and dare to brag about your participation in this barbarity.
If you want to volunteer, go and denounce the present barbarity and YOUR role in it.

Dec. 21 2011 07:52 AM
anna from new york

That's nice, Jeane.
I am sure there aren't any young people possibly much, much, much more talented than you who are fully unemployed and would do a wonderful job given an opportunity.
Your emptiness (and absolute selfishness) which forces you take other people's jobs is repulsive.

Dec. 21 2011 07:47 AM
Jeane Goforth from Birmingham, AL

Not only did I donate my retirement to found a music education program for inner city children (Scrollworks), I work as a full time volunteer. I was inspired by how learning an instrument changed my daughter's life and knowing that so many children in Birmingham don't have a chance to discover that music is their passion because of cuts in school budgets. My goal is to create a diverse youth music movement that will replace the grim images everyone associates with this city. The holiday concert last Saturday showed that we are succeeding: it was amazing!

Dec. 21 2011 07:37 AM
anna from new york

Well ... other nations are just less barbaric and they start with the premise: "Thou shall not rob, steal and murder"and design their societies accordingly, limiting the opportunities to steal, rob and murder.
Worshipping of criminals (when insanely rich criminals are NOT asked where their wealth comes from) seems to be uniquely American.
Utter barbarity and should be called so.

Dec. 21 2011 07:26 AM

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