What You Need to Know
Americans are the most charitable people on Earth. We gave away $428 billion in 2018 to various charities and causes, from religious institutions to animal rights organizations. This does not even include giving spare change to the homeless, dropping dollars in red kettles and gifts to crowdfunding websites.
Private charitable giving is a part of the American fabric. It’s an exercise of our First Amendment rights of speech, association, and worship. Capitalism has made our nation prosperous, and private giving allows us to voluntarily share this prosperity with others by
supporting the causes we believe in. This contrasts with taxation, which is not optional and sometimes goes to support policies or causes we find objectionable.
From our founding, Americans have been inspired to come together to address problems in our communities, country, and worldwide rather than waiting for government to fix them. The individuals and organizations closest to problems are more efficient, effective, and agile in addressing problems than centralized government bureaucracies far away.
Private giving has become a target for greater government control in recent years. Some policymakers seek to re-engineer charitable giving and direct it to their preferred causes or away from causes they consider unacceptable. Government is also always hungry for new revenuesources. Increased taxation on charitable dollars and forced disclosure of donor information are both threats to our culture of giving.
Philanthropic freedom demands that our right and ability to give be protected. Without this
freedom, our civil society will not flourish, and the lives it helps will be at risk.