ON-Lion Letter

"Philanthropy is a very big part of what makes America America," begins a preview of the forthcoming Almanac of American Philanthropy in the Winter 2016 edition of Philanthropy magazine by Karl Zinsmeister.

Zinsmeister is vice president of publications for the Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, D.C.  Supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Philanthropy Roundtable is publisher of both The Almanac of American Philanthropy and Philanthropy magazine.

"Start with the brute numbers:  Our nonprofit sector now employs 11 percent of the U.S. workforce.  It will contribute around 6 percent of GDP in 2015 (up from 3 percent in 1960)," Zinsmeister continues.  "The nonprofit sector passed the national-defense sector in size way back in 1993.

"And philanthropy's importance stretches far beyond economics," according to Zinsmeister.  "Each year, seven out of ten Americans donate to at least one charitable cause.  Contributions are from two to 20 times higher in the U.S. than in other countries of comparable wealth and modernity. Private giving is a deeply engrained part of our culture -- a font of human creativity and crucial source of new solutions to problems.  Voluntary efforts to repair social weaknesses, enrich our culture, and strengthen community life have long been a hallmark of our country.

"Yet, somehow, there exists no definitive resource that chronicles our philanthropy and puts it in a context where it can be fully appreciated," he writes.  "Until now.

"The Almanac of American Philanthropy," Zinsmeister goes on, "will appeal to everyday citizens, donors, charity workers, journalists, national leaders, and culture and history buffs.  It offers an authoritative collection of major achievements of U.S. philanthropy, lively profiles of the nation’s greatest givers (large and small), and useful compilations of the most important ideas, statistics, polls, literature, quotations, and thinking on this quintessentially American topic.

"The facts, stories, and history contained in the Almanac will fill gaping practical and intellectual holes in our self-awareness.  And in this special issue of Philanthropy you'll get a detailed preview."

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