Dwight Burlingame, director of academic programs at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, says lots of Americans are quietly helping others. "The big gifts get the coverage, but we are all philanthropists," Burlingame says. Nearly all Americans contribute to their community or neighbors informally, he says. About three-quarters of Americans donate to charity each year, he says, adding that the average household donates about 2 percent of their income annually. But, he notes, the recession has forced many to cut back on their donations. And overseas disasters such as the Haitian earthquake caused many donors to redirect their donations away from domestic charities, he says.
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