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Books, Reports and Articles - 2003

center on wealth and philanthropy

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"Better Than Gold: The Moral Biography of Charitable Giving."
Paul G. Schervish. ALDE Conference Presentation. Delivered as a keynote presentation at the 2003 California Dreamin' Conference in Irvine, California.
This presentation focuses on the addition of a third key component for fundraising in congregations in addition to the traditional mission-based and spirituality-based approaches. The mission-based model of stewardship identifies congregational needs and invites the congregation to contribute to meet those needs. The spirituality-based model asks individuals to reflect upon their relationship to God and to develop their inclination to become sacrificial givers to serve God's needs rather than only meeting particular needs in the church. Although each of these models serve their own vital role, a third model that considers the needs of the donating member is of equal importance. I suggest the voluntary contribution of financial gifts will be most highly motivated and productive where we find the confluence of meeting the needs of the congregation, God, and the donor - what Thomas Aquinas describes as the unity of love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self. I discuss three important aspects of the needs of donors that should be taken into account in stewardship efforts. The first aspect is the notion that charitable giving is a practice that helps constitute an individual's life as a moral biography. The second aspect is the increasing material capacity that is increasingly forming the basis for growth in charitable giving. And finally, the third aspect is the notion that working with the inclinations of donors through a self-reflective process of discernment will make charitable giving more meaningful and more abundant.

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"Gifts and Bequests: Family or Philanthropic Organizations?"
Paul G. Schervish and John J. Havens. In Alicia Munnell and Annika Sunden, (eds.), Death and Dollars, Brookings Press, 2003. This paper presents an alternative paradigm to economic models of transfers, one which we have developed from our extensive ethnographic and survey research on charitable giving and which we call the identification theory. The identification theory suggests that it is self-identification with others and with the needs of others, (rather than selflessness) that motivates transfers to individuals and to philanthropic organizations and that leads givers to derive satisfaction from fulfilling those needs. The allocation of transfers to family and philanthropy, we have found, is not so much a division between individuals and philanthropic organizations, as it is an allocation of transfers across an array of perceived needs, which combines both the needs of individuals, including family and friends, and needs served by philanthropic organizations. Moreover, the allocation is less a single conscious decision than a process imbedded in daily life experiences.

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"Hyperagency and High-Tech Donors: A New Theory of the New Philanthropists."
Paul G. Schervish. Presented at the annual ARNOVA conference November, 2003. This paper develops the theoretical concept of hyperagency and applies it to interpret the philanthropy of high-tech donors in particular, and wealthy donors in general.

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“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 ofpaideia, 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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"New Findings on the Patterns of Wealth and Philanthropy."
Paul G. Schervish and John J. Havens. Working Paper. (1) An update on the patterns of wealth and philanthropy using the 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances and reporting in 2002 dollars; (2) An update on the patterns of bequests using 2000 IRS data updated to 2002 dollars; (3) An update of the wealth transfer projections in 2002 dollars; (4) 20-year and 55-year projections for total charitable contributions (bequests and inter-vivos giving in 2002 dollars).
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"Wealth Transfer in an Age of Affluence: An Interview with Paul Schervish.”
Interviewed by Pamela Gerloff. More Than Money Journal. Spring 2003. pp. 5-10.
MTM: You have written elsewhere that, “The leading cultural and spiritual question of the current era is how to make wise decisions in an age of affluence.” Is that what you’re suggesting—that people in our society now have so many choices that wisdom is needed in making them?
Schervish: Aristotle understood that the goal of life is happiness—you could also say love , unity with the divine presence, or a whole range of things, but let’s just say that his term is one working definition of the goal of life. Happiness is achieved if you can close the gap between where you and those with whom you identify and care about are and where you and they would like to be.
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"Why the $41 Trillion Wealth Transfer is Still Valid: A Review of Challenges and Questions."
John J. Havens and Paul G. Schervish. The National Committee on Planned Giving's The Journal of Gift Planning. Vol. 7, no. 1, 1st Quarter 2003. pp. 11-15, 47-50.
Despite the economic downturn and the fall of the equity markets, the nationally noted projection that a wealth transfer of at least $41-trillion will take place in the United States by the year 2052 remains valid, according to researchers at the Boston College Social Welfare Research Institute (SWRI), which issued the original projection in 1999.
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