Books, Reports and Articles - I Entries
center on wealth and philanthropy
"In Verdant Pastures: The Centrality of Voluntary Association for the Prominence of Philanthropy." Paul G. Schervish. In Papers in Honor of Brian O'Connell, edited by Elizabeth Boris. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Forthcoming
In my commentary on this paper, I will attempt to do three things based on the analysis John Havens and I are conducting of the same biennial IS/Gallup Survey examined by Hodgkinson, Carson, and Knauft. I begin by highlighting the relational meaning of voluntary association. While a voluntary association is an organizational entity, voluntary association is an act of dedicated engagement. In the second section, I elaborate a five-variable theoretical model of the factors that induce such philanthropic commitment. In the third section, I present some preliminary findings from our efforts at Boston College’s Social Welfare Research Institute to operationalize the theoretical model and to measure the relative strength of each of the five variables. While our conceptual focus is on the factors leading to both giving and volunteering, our empirical analysis focuses exclusively on the factors that lead to giving.
"Inclination, Obligation, and Association: What We Know and What We Need to Learn about Donor Motivation." Paul G. Schervish. In Critical Issues in Fund Raising, edited by Dwight F. Burlingame. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997. 110-138.
This paper reviews the status of questions surrounding the issue of motivation for charitable gifts of money and assets--what I will call financial philanthropy. In exploring the mobilizing factors that induce financial philanthropy, it is important to distinguish between those influences that lead people to become givers in the first place and those that lead some donors to make larger than average gifts or to increase their giving. The guiding principle of my approach to charitable giving is represented by what I call an identification model rather than an altruism model of motivation.
“The Inheritance of Wealth and the Commonwealth: The Ideal of Paideia in an Age of Affluence”
Paul G. Schervish. Philanthropy Across the Generations (Dwight F. Burlingame, ed.). New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising, no. 42, Winter 2003, pp. 5-24. Cathlene Williams, Lilya Wagner (Coeditors-in-Chief)
The transmission of philanthropy across the generations is the transfer of a spiritual agency of material capacity, care for others, and a process of conscientious decision-making and choice. The intergenerational transmission of philanthropy is less a matter of shepherding heirs to become caretakers of existing philanthropic instruments and endeavors as it is a matter of guiding heirs to become agents who reconstitute for their own time and in their own way the relation between wealth and the commonwealth. In the first section of the paper I draw on an essay by John Maynard Keynes to set the stage for an understanding of the material and cultural conditions in the offing during the early twenty-first century. In the second section, I summarize several elements of the material heritage we will leave our children, including a substantial transfer of wealth, and indicate the implications of these trends for the historical circumstances of wealth and philanthropy that our heirs will face. The third section examines the meaning of moral biography as the confluence of material capacity and moral compass, and how our calling today is to provide our heirs the opportunity to conscientiously shape their own moral biographies tailored to the distinctive characteristics of the future in which they will live. In the fourth section, I explore two elements of how we might best go about to help our children and grandchildren form their own moral biographies. I focus especially on the communication of paideia, the Greek ideal of formative education and the meaning of culture, as the ideal of our teachings and on discernment as a process of decision making aimed at clarifying one’s philanthropic resources, purposes, and mode of implementation. In the conclusion, I exhort those in my generation to make it our vocation to help our children freely discover their own vocation.
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"Is Today's Philanthropy Failing Beneficiaries? Always a Risk, But Not for the Most Part" by Paul G. Schervish, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Volume 36 Number 2 June 2007, pages 373-379,edited by Wolfgang Bielefeld and Dwight Burlingame, Sage Publications.
I am pleased to be asked to comment on my friend Susan Ostrander's "The Growth of Donor Control: Revisiting the Social Relation of Philanthropy." Her well-written and tightly argued article enables me to consider how much I still hold to the tenets of our 1990 paper. It also encourages me to think about how my own thinking about philanthropy as a social relation has developed over the years. Finally, it gives me an opportunity to offer my reflections on Ostrander's argument, finding many points of agreement and some places where I want to challenge some of her analysis and conclusions.