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center on wealth and philanthropy

"Wealth Transfer on Track?"
US fundraising experts vet nationally-utilized wealth transfer projections by BC's Center on Wealth and Philanthropy in light of the economic downturn early in the decade. Center on Wealthy and Philanthropy researchers Paul Schervish and John Havens add their assessment.

Wealth Transfer: A Digest of Opinion and Advice (PDF)

National Influence, Local Connection (PDF)

"Washington DC Wealth Transfer Study"
The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy has developed and tested a new methodology that enables the estimation of the transfer of personal wealth from 2001 through 2055 for states and large metropolitan areas. Analogous to its national estimate of $41 trillion of wealth transfer, the state and metropolitan area estimates are developed by microsimulation for 2% low growth, 3% medium growth, and 4% high growth scenarios.

Like their national counterpart, the state and metropolitan area estimates are derived from an expanded and updated 2004 Wealth Transfer Microsimulation Model (WTMM) developed and housed at the Center. Using 10-year intervals the expanded model estimates the number and value of final estates (i.e., estates without a surviving spouse) and their distribution among estate fees, charitable bequests, estate taxes, and heirs - all cross-tabulated by categories of net worth of the final estates. The expanded model also estimates the number of millionaires spawned from the 2001 population and the value of their wealth at the end of each reporting decade.

The authors of this study have used a version of their Wealth Transfer Microsimulation Model (WTMM) specially calibrated to the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area to derive findings concerning the level and distribution of household wealth, the amount and distribution of wealth transfer, and the amount and distribution of charitable giving in Washington, DC.
Download Study (PDF)

"Leaving a Legacy of Care."
A long-held view has been that the only reason the wealthy left money to charity was to escape the estate tax; remove the tax, and charitable bequests would plummet. Boston College's Center on Wealth and Philanthropy disputed these predictions, and our research indicates that as people become more financially secure, incentives more powerful than taxes incline them to support charity and to limit their bequests to heirs.

Paul G. Schervish, John Havens, and Albert Keith Whitaker. Philanthropy. Vol. 20, no. 1. pp. 11-13. January/February 2006.
Download Article (PDF)

"The Moral Biography of Wealth: Philosophical Reflections on the Foundation of Philanthropy."
Moral biography refers to the way all individuals conscientiously combine two elements in daily life: personal capacity and moral compass. Exploring the moral biography of wealth highlights the philosophical foundations of major gifts by major donors. First, the author provides several examples to elucidate his definition of moral biography. Second, he elaborates the elements of a moral biography. Third, he describes the characteristics that make one's moral biography a spiritual or religious biography. Fourth, he discusses the distinctive characteristics of a moral biography of wealth. Fifth, he suggests that implementing a process of discernment will enable development professionals to work more productively with donors. The author concludes by placing the notion of a moral biography of wealth in historical context and suggests how advancement professionals can deepen their own moral biography by working to deepen the moral biography of their donors.

Paul G. Schervish. Published in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Volume 35, No. 3, pp. 477-492. September 2006.
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"Wealth and Giving by the Numbers."
How do individuals of means make decisions about how to allocate their wealth? what are their priorities in philanthropy? What obstacles do the face, and where could they use help? These are among the questions that the Wealth & Giving Forum has sought to answer in a series of interactive surveys conducted at their gatherings. The findings below are based on a survey of participants at the Forum's inaugural gathering in October 2004.

Paul Schervish and András Szántó. Published in Reflections: Excerpts from Wealth & Giving Forum Gatherings, Issue 2, pp. 31-49. Fall 2006.
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"Charitable Giving: How Much, By Whom, To What, and Why."
Four aspects of charitable giving are discussed in this chapter: how much is given in total; the patterns of giving broken down by demographic and behavioral characteristics; how much is given to various areas of need; and how donors are giving, that is, through outright cash gifts, or through more formal and strategic methods.

Paul G. Schervish, John J. Havens and Mary A. O'Herlihy. The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, Second Edition. Walter W. Powell and Richard Steinberg (eds.) Yale University Presss. 2006.
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"Philanthropy's Janus-Faced Potential: The Dialectic of Care and Negligence Donors Face."
Wealth-holders are capable of both extraordinary care and extraordinary carelessness in carrying out their philanthropy. This Janus-faced potential of philanthropy is explored as the dialectic of care and impairment, negligence, or dominion. This chapter explores this dialectic, drawing on intensive interviews with wealth-holders about their lives and philanthropy.

Paul G. Schervish. Published in Taking Philanthropy Seriously: Beyond Noble Intentions to Responsible Giving. Edited by William Damon and Susan Verducci. Indiana University Press, 2006.
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"Boston Metropolitan Area Wealth Transfer Study"

The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy has developed and tested a new methodology that enables the estimation of the transfer of personal wealth from 2001 through 2055 for states and large metropolitan areas. Analogous to its national estimate of $41 trillion of wealth transfer, the state and metropolitan area estimates are developed by microsimulation for 2% low growth, 3% medium growth, and 4% high growth scenarios.

Like their national counterpart, the state and metropolitan area estimates are derived from an expanded and updated 2004 Wealth Transfer Microsimulation Model (WTMM) developed and housed at the Center. Using 10-year intervals the expanded model estimates the number and value of final estates (i.e., estates without a surviving spouse) and their distribution among estate fees, charitable bequests, estate taxes, and heirs - all cross-tabulated by categories of net worth of the final estates. The expanded model also estimates the number of millionaires spawned from the 2001 population and the value of their wealth at the end of each reporting decade.

"North Dakota Wealth Transfer Study"
The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy has developed and tested a new methodology that enables the estimation of the transfer of personal wealth from 2001 through 2055 for states and large metropolitan areas. Analogous to its national estimate of $41 trillion of wealth transfer, the state and metropolitan area estimates are developed by microsimulation for 2% low growth, 3% medium growth, and 4% high growth scenarios.

Like their national counterpart, the state and metropolitan area estimates are derived from an expanded and updated 2004 Wealth Transfer Microsimulation Model (WTMM) developed and housed at the Center. Using 10-year intervals the expanded model estimates the number and value of final estates (i.e., estates without a surviving spouse) and their distribution among estate fees, charitable bequests, estate taxes, and heirs - all cross-tabulated by categories of net worth of the final estates. The expanded model also estimates the number of millionaires spawned from the 2001 population and the value of their wealth at the end of each reporting decade.

 

"Wealth Transfer Estimates for African American Households"
This study presents new information on wealth and wealth transfer within the African-American community. The first section presents an overview of the findings. The second section presents selected statistical patterns and trends in income, wealth, and philanthropic giving among African-American households. This section includes estimates of the amount and distribution of wealth among African American households. It provides an essential context for understanding the estimates of wealth transfer presented in the third section. The third section deals with the capacity of African American households to make charitable gifts and to leave charitable bequests in the 55 year period from 2001 to 2055. Using an expanded and updated version of the CWP's Wealth Transfer Microsimulation Model (WTMM), the report presents the first estimates of wealth transfer among African American households.

In 2001, there were 13.2 million African-American households in the U.S. By examining the major findings concerning recent trends in the financial resources and philanthropy of African-American households, the distribution of wealth and rates of growth in wealth among African-American households, and the estimates of wealth transfer among African American households, the study attempts to paint an accurate financial picture of the African American household, both today and in the future. A preliminary version of analysis paper is available for download now.
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"The Material and Spiritual Dynamics of Wealth:
Dilemmas and Decisions Surrounding the Accumulation and Distribution of Financial Resources."
This research continues our study of wealth and philanthropy with a particular focus on exploring the material and spiritual decision-making dynamics of wealth holders that surround their accumulation and distribution of financial resources; on working more wealth holders in order to explore and communicate a spirituality of wealth transfer that relates specifically to those who are financially secure; and on developing strategies for encouraging wise financial decision-making by wealth holders. Support for the study is provided by The T. B. Murphy Foundation Charitable Trust, January 1, 2000-present.

Here is a selection of recent papers published as part of the research:

"The Identification Theory and The Allocation of Transfers Between Family and Philanthropic Organizations."
Download Paper (108KB)

"Millionaires and the Millennium:
New Estimates of the Forthcoming Wealth Transfer and the Prospects for a Golden Age of Philanthropy."

"Millionaires and the Millennium" is a project which studies wealth transfer and the implications for charitable giving using estimates produced by a first-of-its-kind Wealth Transfer Microsimulation Model developed at SWRI. The first report of the project on wealth transfer over the 55-year period from 1998-2052 documents results which are many times higher than previous estimates of $10 trillion. Havens and Schervish estimate a range of wealth transfer for the period of $41 trillion to $136 trillion, with charitable bequests ranging from $6 to $25 trillion. The report presents a more detailed portrait of the pending wealth transfer, as well as the methodology used to obtain the estimate. The report has naturally been of great interest to all who may be affected by a potential "golden age of philanthropy". Havens and Schervish are continuing to work on refining the estimates and on elaborating strategies by which fundraisers and financial advisors can guide wealth holders to shift even greater portions of their net worth to charity in the form of both inter vivos giving and bequests.

Support for the study is provided by the T. B. Murphy Foundation Charitable Trust and the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Download the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy/ Bankers Trust Report (PDF)
Download "The Mind of the Millionare: Findings from a National Survey on Wealth with Responsibility" (PDF)
Download the 1998 Study on Wealth with Responsibility Survey Questionnaire (PDF)
Download Published Article
Download the Report

"St Louis Metropolitan Area Wealth Transfer Estimate"

The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy has developed and tested a new methodology that enables the estimation of the transfer of personal wealth from 2001 through 2055 for states and large metropolitan areas. Analogous to its national estimate of $41 trillion of wealth transfer, the state and metropolitan area estimates are developed by microsimulation for 2% low growth, 3% medium growth, and 4% high growth scenarios.

Like their national counterpart, the state and metropolitan area estimates are derived from an expanded and updated 2004 Wealth Transfer Microsimulation Model (WTMM) developed and housed at the Center. Using 10-year intervals the expanded model estimates the number and value of final estates (i.e., estates without a surviving spouse) and their distribution among estate fees, charitable bequests, estate taxes, and heirs - all cross-tabulated by categories of net worth of the final estates. The expanded model also estimates the number of millionaires spawned from the 2001 population and the value of their wealth at the end of each reporting decade.

At the invitation of the St. Louis Metropolitan Association for Philanthropy, the Center applied this localized method to the St. Louis area. The technical background and published reports are available for download, as is information about this new service.

Wealth Transfer Estimate Service

Download Technical Background Report

Download Published Report

"Agent-Animated Wealth and Philanthropy:
The Dynamics of Accumulation and Allocation Among High-Tech Donors."

The "2001 High-Tech Donors Study" was carried out from January through March 2001 and consisted of interviews with 20 high-tech wealth holders, two spouses and a number of knowledgeable informants. The leading questions of the research revolved around discerning: 1) the relationship between how high-tech wealth holders accumulate their money in business and how they allocate it to philanthropy; 2) the range of personal, business, and philanthropic issues that surround high-tech wealth and philanthropy; 3) the implications of the findings for understanding and improving the trajectory of the philanthropy carried out by high-tech donors; and 4) the application of what we learn to further our understanding of the emerging problems and prospects of philanthropy in general.

Sponsored by Association of Fundraising Professionals and the R. B. Pamplin Corporation.

Download Final Report (189KB)
Download Executive Summary (26KB)

"Philanthropy and the Spiritual Horizon of Wealth."

A multi-year research effort to analyze survey and interview data regarding the patterns and spiritual foundations of charitable giving, especially among the affluent and wealthy. Sponsored by the T. B. Murphy Foundation. Sept. 1995-Aug. 1999. There are three broad areas of research that are supported through this grant from the T.B. Murphy Foundation Charitable Trust.

"Qualitative Studies on Giving and Volunteering."

"The Study on Wealth and Philanthropy" has produced research and writing in several areas regarding wealth holders: (1) the nature of everyday economic meanings and practices as narrated through their moral biographies; (2) the strategies of giving pursued by the wealthy; (3) the spiritual consciousness and moral identity of caritas; (4) strategies for communicating financial care to children; (5) the definition of philanthropy as a social relation in which worldly capacity is carried out for moral purposes; (6) the understanding of the wealthy as hyperagents exercising principality and individuality; and (7) the moral careers of heirs and entrepreneurs.

"Quantitative Studies on Giving and Volunteering."

Over the next five years we will continue (1) studies on the relationship among income, wealth, and philanthropy; (2) developing and testing a multivariate theory of the factors that induce charitable giving; (3) carrying out the evaluation of the current Independent Sector/Gallup national survey; and (4) analyzing the diary data we have collected in the "Boston Area Diary Study" and the "National Diary Study." We will continue to disseminate our new research findings through professional and academic publications and conference presentations.

"Studies on Moral Biography and Spirituality."

The underlying motif of our qualitative and quantitative research on giving and volunteering, the diary studies charting giving and receiving of care, and the Christmas study is the study of the spiritual sentiments of everyday life. The leading question is 'What is the experience and source of care? How is it that the Thomistic theology of identification of love of self, love of neighbor, and love of God converges in a contemporary sociology of spirituality?'

Funding provided by the T. B. Murphy Foundation Charitable Trust.

"Contradictions of Christmas: Troubles and Traditions in Culture, Home, and Heart."

The Christmas study is a multi-year research project sponsored by the T.B. Murphy Foundation Charitable Trust. The study is being conducted by SWRI as an interdisciplinary study of the social, economic, historical, psychological, financial, theological, artistic, and literary aspects of Christmas. The project brings into collaboration Boston College faculty and graduate students.

"Identification and Association: The Spiritual Foundations of Caritas and the Empirical Dynamics of Charity."

The purpose of this research is to (1) elaborate new thinking about the theoretical meaning of care as identification, (2) conduct sophisticated empirical analyses to test and develop this theoretical perspective, and (3) set out the practical implications for several aspects of charitable giving and community life. Sponsored by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Dec. 1996 - Dec. 31, 1999.

"1998 Study on Wealth with Responsibility."

This study sponsored by Bankers Trust Private Banking was supervised by SWRI in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts at Boston Center for Survey Research. The purpose of the research was to develop a base of knowledge about the attitudes and practices of wealth holders, particularly as they relate to charitable giving and volunteering, attitudes about social issues, socially responsible investing, trust and estate planning, and the transfer of values to heirs. Thirty-minute mailed questionnaires were sent to 400 wealth holders with net worth of $5 million or more. Jan. 1998-May 2000. The final report is available from Banker's Trust Private Banking or by sending us your mailing address.

"The Elementary Forms of the Spiritual Life: New Models and Measures of the Daily Dynamics of Spirituality."

Through literature reviews, focus groups, and intensive interviews, SWRI is working to develop a set of survey and interview questions that will enable SWRI researchers and others to explore the unconventional, yet generative, definitions and dynamics of spirituality by which people monitor, revise, and guide their lives. Jan. 1998-present.

"The Spirituality of Wealth and Philanthropy."

This project is an off-shoot from "The Elementary Forms of the Spiritual Life." Through focus groups and personal interviews, this project seeks to discover and communicate knowledge about the spirituality or guiding principles that inspire and console, or challenge and vex, wealth holders as they chart the use of their wealth for themselves, their families, and the well-being of others. Sept. 1998-present.

"1998-1999 Boston College Economic Impact Study."

In cooperation with the Office of the President and the Boston College Office of Community Affairs, SWRI is directing the technical aspects of the collection and analysis of the data necessary to estimate the economic impact of Boston College on Boston, Brookline, and Newton.

"Graduate Student Interdisciplinary Spirituality Seminar."

SWRI sponsors a monthly informal Graduate Seminar in Religion and Spirituality for graduate students. This seminar provides graduate students a forum in which they may present their writings and receive systematic feedback from their peers and interested faculty. The seminar is especially helpful to students who are engaged in writing M.A. theses, doctoral proposals, dissertations, seminar papers, or articles for publication.

"Support University Research Grant."

Obtained (for FY98) an initial SUR (Support University Research) Grant from IBM providing over $750,000 of hardware and software and extensive support, in order to implement robust voice and e-mail service improvements. Another (SUR) grant for $750,000 is approved for FY99 to implement sophisticated data mining projects in partnership with faculty. (Wealth Transfer Micro Simulator).