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center on wealth and philanthropy

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"Major Donors, Major Motives: The People and Purposes Behind Major Gifts." Paul G. Schervish. In New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising: Developing Major Gifts, edited by Dwight F. Burlingame and James M. Hodge. 16 (Summer 1997): 85-112. 

In this paper I attempt to explain what motivates the charitable giving of the wealthy, or more succinctly, the major motives of major donors. My research over the past twelve years has enabled me to distill an answer that is both simple and complex. The simple part is that what motivates the wealthy is very much what motivates someone at any point along the economic spectrum. The complex part about the charitable motivation of the wealthy is that those who hold great wealth and consciously direct it to social purposes invariably want to shape rather than merely support a charitable cause.

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"Making Money and Making a Self."
Paul G. Schervish. In Principality and Individuality: The Moral Careers and Moral Biographies of the Conscientious Wealthy, by Paul G. Schervish. Under contract with the University of Chicago Press, 1990.
I analyze entrepreneurship as a moral career, a joint venture of making money and making a self. Drawing on intensive interviews with 49 entrepreneurs, I discuss how entrepreneurs move through four stages of world-building and self-construction.

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"The Material Horizons of Philanthropy: New Directions for Money and Motives."
Paul G. Schervish. Fall 2000. Forthcoming in New Directions in Philanthropic Fundraising.
This is the first part of a two-part essay exploring the emerging financial and social-psychological factors that I believe are setting new directions in charitable giving. These new directions revolve in large part around a shift to a supply side understanding of charitable giving, especially by high net worth individuals.

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"A Methodological Test of Giving: Using Indiana as a Test Case." Patrick Rooney, Kathryn Steinberg and Paul G. Schervish. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 3, Sept. 2001, pp.551-568.
In the most recent phase of the telephone survey of giving and volunteering conducted every 4 years, "Indiana Gives," eight groups of approximately 100 randomly selected Indiana residents were asked to complete one of eight surveys related to giving and volunteering. It was found that the longer the module and the more detailed its prompts, the more likely a household was to recall making any charitable contribution and the higher the average level of its giving.

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"Methodology is Destiny: The Effect of Survey Prompts on Reported Levels of Giving and Volunteering."
Paul G. Schervish, Patrick Rooney, and Kathryn Steinberg. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 4, p, December 2004 pp. 628-654.
In a random telephone survey, five groups of at least 800 people responded to several different surveys related to the amount of time and money they had given in the last year. This study found that those respondents who were given the longer and more detailed surveys were likely to remember more of their charitable contributions than those presented with less detailed surveys.

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"The Methods and Metrics of the Boston Area Diary Study."
John J. Havens and Paul G. Schervish. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 30, no.3, Sept. 2001, pp. 527-550.
In this paper we discuss the conceptual framework, methods, and findings of BADS in order to provide insights into the problems and prospects of survey research on philanthropy. We hope that the lessons we have learned may both provide knowledge on the fabric of care in our society, as well as suggest theoretical and practical implications for others conducting survey research in this field.

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"Migration of Wealth in New Jersey and the Impact on Wealth and Philanthropy"

In the first half of the decade 1999 - 2008, the net effect of migration for New Jersey resulted in a substantial increase in both household wealth and charitable capacity. In the second half, the direction of flow was reversed. The net effect of household migration resulted in a loss of substantial household wealth and expected amounts of charitable giving. The change was due mostly to a large decline in the number of wealthy households entering New Jersey between 2004 - 2008 and a moderate increase in the outflow of wealthy households leaving New Jersey. The result of the net loss in wealth was a net loss in charitable capacity, making it more difficult for charitable causes to raise money from New Jersey households.

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"Millionaires and the Millennium: New Estimates of the Forthcoming Wealth Transfer and the Prospects for a Golden Age of Philanthropy".
John J. Havens and Paul G. Schervish.
New estimates showing forthcoming wealth transfer over the 55-year period from 1998 to 2052 will be at least $41 trillion and possibly as high as $136 trillion. October 19, 1999.

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"The Mind of the Millionaire: Findings from a National Survey on Wealth with Responsibility."
Paul G. Schervish and John J. Havens. New Directions in Philanthropic Fundraising, Understanding Donor Dynamics: The Organizational Side of Charitable Giving. Edited by Eugene R. Tempel. Number 32, Summer 2001, pp. 75-107.
In this paper, we present some new findings on the intersection of wealth and beneficence, empowerment, and moral direction derived from the "Wealth With Responsibility Study / 2000" carried out over two years from March 1998 to March 2000 for Bankers Trust Private Banking and, now Deutsche Bank Private Banking. The sample was 112 families worth $5 million or more. "28%" were the extremely wealthy worth $50 million or more. The paper discusses the implications of the findings. What conclusions can fundraisers, nonprofits, estate planners, financial advisors, and other practitioners draw about how they can better help high-net-worth clients translate their financial wherewithal into an expression of their values in a way that responds to society’s needs?

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Download Published Article: "The Mind of the Millionare: Findings from a National Survey on Wealth with Responsibility" (3.6MB)
Download the 1998 Study on Wealth with Responsibility Survey Questionnaire (640KB)
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"The Modern Medici: Patterns, Motivations, and Giving Strategies of the Wealthy." Paul G. Schervish. Paper presented on the panel, "The New Philanthropists," at the inaugural forum, "What is 'New' About New Philanthropy," of the University of Southern California Nonprofit Studies Center. Los Angeles, January 20, 2000.
This paper addresses three aspects of the relationship between wealth and philanthropy that can serve as foundations for understanding and influencing what I consider to be a forthcoming golden age of philanthropy: the large and exponential growth in wealth, the motivational array that inclines wealth holders to contribute to charity, and the array of strategies they use in carrying out their philanthropy.

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"Money and Magnanimity: New Findings on the Distribution of Income, Wealth, and Philanthropy."
Paul G. Schervish and John J. Havens. Nonprofit Management & Leadership 8, no. 4 (Summer 1998): 421-434.
In this paper we address several additional empirical questions about variation in the level of charitable giving across and within categories of income. We interpret the findings to mean that the roots of generosity reside in an array of social-psychological factors that are more profound than the fact that people are rich or poor.

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"Money and Hyperagency: The Worldly Empowerment of Wealth."
Paul G. Schervish and Andrew Herman. Presented at the Conference on Money: Lure, Lore & Liquidity, Hofstra University, Nov. 1991.
This paper examines money in the form of financial wealth and moral capital. Our purpose is to articulate the distinctive characteristics of the wealthy as individual agents in contemporary American capitalist society. We argue that the wealthy are uniquely endowed with material resources and cognitive dispositions that enable them, both as a group and as individuals, to shape the rules, practices and positions of social structure.

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"The Moral Biography of Wealth: Philosophical Reflections on the Foundation of Philanthropy."
Paul G. Schervish, April 2005. 
This paper examines the meaning and practice of the "moral biography of wealth " defined as an donor's combination of personal capacity and moral compass. Through a discussion of the characteristics of the moral biography, highlighted by examples from literature and popular culture, Schervish aims to help fundraisers better understand their donors, and to help the donors themselves give obtain greater results from the act of giving.

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"The Moral Biography of Wealth: Philosophical Reflections on the Foundation of Philanthropy."Paul G. Schervish. Published in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Volume 35, No. 3, pp. 477-492. September 2006. 
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.

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"The Moral Biographies of the Wealthy and the Cultural Scripture of Wealth."
Paul G. Schervish. In Wealth in Western Thought: The Case for and Against Riches, edited by Paul G. Schervish. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994. 167-208.
In this paper I seek to make sociological sense of how the wealthy make moral sense of their wealth. The leading questions are firstly, how the autobiographical narratives of the wealthy take shape as moral biographies in which the wealthy recount their exercise of virtue to make more of what is given them by fortune? And secondly, what this reveals about the underlying social meaning of wealth in American society?

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