Summary of American Generosity

Who Gives and Why

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American Generosity book summary
Report breaks new ground on American giving habits.


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Researchers Patricia Snell Herzog and Heather E. Price break new ground in this report on American giving habits. Their analysis, based on comprehensive 2010 findings from the Science of Generosity Initiative, includes the large dynamics and small nuances that influence individual giving patterns. Herzog and Price make their academic source material accessible by referring to a dozen individual case studies that represent a cross-section of Americans. You’ll learn why wealthy people are not necessarily the most generous, and why some people donate time instead of money. Herzog and Price also offer simple suggestions for increasing generosity in your life. getAbstract recommends their analysis to academic, philanthropic and nonprofit organization professionals, as well as to readers curious about “who gives and why.”

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Americans practice nine forms of generosity,
  • How different demographic factors influence generosity and
  • What characteristics distinguish the four major kinds of givers.


Faces Behind the Numbers
After tallying the answers of 2,000 respondents in a national survey about Americans’ charitable giving practices, researchers selected 12 individual case studies to represent a cross-section of demographics, backgrounds and viewpoints.

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About the Authors

Co-investigator on the Science of Generosity Initiative Patricia Snell Herzog is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Arkansas. Heather E. Price is a co-investigator on the Science of Generosity Phase II.

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    Jerry Greenwell 10 months ago
    I find it interesting that the first 7 examples of the research are white middle -upper class, all very positive and the first example of ethnic diversity is a single black mother in a crime ridden neighborhood, and a single pregnant Latino. After reading that I decided not to read the rest. Where are the positive non-white examples from the research. This doesn't represent what I know about people that give or not. Maybe they are in the book but I don't think I'll be reading this one.

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