[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: WILLIAM J. CLINTON (2000-2001, Book III)]
[November 25, 2000]
[Pages 2582-2583]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
November 25, 2000

    Good morning. All across America, friends and families are still 
savoring the joys--and the leftovers--of a bountiful Thanksgiving. This 
weekend also marks the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. 
But even as many of us head out to buy that perfect gift for those we 
love, millions of Americans are also extending their generosity to 
people they've never met.
    Last year Americans gave a record $190 billion to charitable causes: 
to feed the hungry, immunize children, build homes, tutor immigrants, 
restore parks, and send disaster relief to hard-hit people all around 
the world. Working with America's extensive network of nonprofit and 
faith-based organizations, we're making a difference, but we still have 
more to do.
    Today I'm releasing a report from the Council of Economic Advisers 
that examines this resurgence of charitable giving and outlines 
proposals to further cultivate public generosity. I'm also announcing 
the launch of a new $2 million privately funded initiative designed to 
introduce more young Americans to the rewards of charitable giving.
    Both of these efforts emerged from last year's White House 
Conference on Philanthropy, which Hillary and I organized to showcase 
America's great tradition of giving. To keep the momentum going, we also 
formed a task force on nonprofits and governments which will soon issue 
a roadmap for creating innovative partnerships between nonprofit 
organizations and Federal agencies. We're tackling America's toughest 
challenges together and making the most of the American people's 
enduring spirit of generosity.
    Now, according to the Council of Economic Advisers, charitable gifts 
now exceed 2 percent of our gross domestic product, the highest level of 
giving in nearly three decades. Sustained by a strong economy and rising 
incomes, charitable giving has jumped more than 40 percent since 1995. 
At the same time, both donors and charities have become much more 
sophisticated, often using the Internet for research, education, and, 
increasingly, to make contributions.
    Overall, 70 percent of America's households made charitable 
contributions last year, even those who didn't have much extra to spare. 
In fact, half of all Americans with incomes of less than $10,000 made a 
charitable contribution. And as a percentage of their net wealth, 
families with the lowest incomes gave much more than the wealthiest. 
That's both humbling and inspiring, and suggests a tremendous potential 
for growth in charitable giving by well-to-do Americans.
    This new report also reveals that people over the age of 65 are much 
more likely to make charitable contributions than younger people, even 
after accounting for differences in income and wealth. Perhaps, having 
earned the wisdom of a lifetime, seniors understand that the 
satisfaction of charitable giving cannot be measured in dollars and 
cents. And they know that personal generosity is an essential ingredient 
in the mortar that binds our entire community together.
    Given this truth, how can we do a better job of engaging younger 
Americans in giving? We know already that they care about their

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communities, because so many are volunteering for local causes. Nearly 
150,000 of them have joined AmeriCorps over the past 8 years, dedicating 
at least a year of their lives to public service.
    According to one recent study, this youthful spirit of community can 
be translated into a lifetime of financial support for worthy causes but 
only if we engage people early and teach them the importance of 
philanthropy. With the help and guidance of several major philanthropic 
organizations, we developed a national blueprint to do just that, the 
Youth Giving Project.
    Building on the success of a program in Michigan, this grassroots 
initiative will train young people to identify charitable needs in their 
own communities, teach them how to raise and distribute money to address 
those needs, and build leadership skills along the way. It will be 
coordinated by a nonprofit coalition of experts on youth programs that 
can provide local groups with training materials, access to a 
comprehensive web site, and expert advice.
    This is just a small investment with a potentially great dividend. 
The baby boom generation stands poised to inherit $12 trillion from the 
World War II generation. And it's likely their children will inherit 
even more. With that in mind, we need to help younger people recognize 
their own capacity to do good and help them discover the rewards of 
    In this time of prosperity and season of sharing, let's remember: 
When we give what we can and give it with joy, we don't just renew the 
American tradition of giving, we also renew ourselves.
    Thanks for listening.

Note: The address was recorded at 10:15 a.m. on November 24 in the 
Laurel Conference Room at Camp David, MD, for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on 
November 25. The transcript was made available by the Office of the 
Press Secretary on November 24 but was embargoed for release until the