Saturday, May 10, 2008

Claude Rosenberg, Advocate for Increased Charitable Giving By the Wealthy, Dies at Age 80

The New York Times reported on May 8, 2008, that Claude Rosenberg, an advocate for increased charitable giving by the wealthy, recently died in his home near San Francisco.  Mr. Rosenberg explained his ideas about charitable giving in his book, “Wealthy and Wise: How You and America Can Get the Most Out of Your Giving” (Little, Brown, 1994).  According to his writings, "poor and middle-class people . . . give more, relative to what they can afford, than do the wealthy, especially the very wealthy."  His is an excerpt from the NYT article:

“Based on extensive research on charitable giving in the U.S., Mr. Rosenberg developed a model that estimated that if people gave what they could really afford, we would increase charitable giving in the United States by $100 billion a year,” James Phills Jr., director of the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, said Tuesday.

* * *

“When you take into account people’s assets, they can actually afford to give much more than they would based just on income,” Professor Phills said. That is because tax laws give a bigger break to people who donate appreciated assets, like stock that has risen in value, than it does to those who give cash. People who donate appreciated assets do not have to count the increased value of the asset as income, but they can deduct the asset’s value against their income.

Beyond informing people of how to maximize giving and tax benefits, Mr. Rosenberg “explored the psychological reasons that people don’t give as much as they can,” Professor Phills said. “For example, that people tend to do what he called ‘eyeballing’ — ‘I think I can give $50,000 this year’ — which tends to be systematically lower than what they actually are able to give.”

For the entire article, see "Claude Rosenberg, Advocate for Philanthropy, Is Dead at 80" in the May 8, 2008, issue of the New York Times.


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