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Hyperagency and High-Tech Donors: A New Theory of the New Philanthropists by Paul G. Schervish

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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.

 

“Better Than Gold: The Moral Biography of Charitable Giving” by Paul G. Schervish

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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.

Today’s Wealth Holder and Tomorrow’s Giving: The New Dynamics of Wealth and Philanthropy by Paul G. Schervish

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Increasing numbers of individuals are approaching, achieving, or even exceeding their financial goals at younger and younger ages. A level of affluence that had been rare has come to characterize large groups and even whole cultures. In the context of an ongoing intergenerational transfer of wealth, the author examines demographic and spiritual trends that are motivating wealth holders to allocate an ever-greater portion of their financial resources to charity.

 

“The Moral Biography of Wealth: Philosophical Reflections on the Foundation of Philanthropy” by Paul G. Schervish

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Moral biography refers to the way all individuals conscientiously combine two elements in daily life: personal capacity and moral compass. Exploring the moral biography of wealth highlights the philosophical foundations of major gifts by major donors. First, the author provides several examples to elucidate his definition of moral biography. Second, he elaborates the elements of a moral biography. Third, he describes the characteristics that make one’s moral biography a spiritual or religious biography. Fourth, he discusses the distinctive characteristics of a moral biography of wealth. Fifth, he suggests that implementing a process of discernment will enable development professionals to work more productively with donors. The author concludes by placing the notion of a moral biography of wealth in historical context and suggests how advancement professionals can deepen their own moral biography by working to deepen the moral biography of their donors.

 

The Spiritual Secret of Wealth by Dr. Paul Schervish

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A look into the framework of the teaching and learning on generosity and a look into the term moral biography and what it means to individuals.

“Receiving and Giving As Spiritual Exercise” by Dr. Paul Schervish

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Presented as the 2008 Lake Institute Lecture, Paul Schervish offers an examination of receiving and giving as a spiritual exercise.

The more donors feel they have a made a difference, the more their gratitude – Dr. Paul Schervish

America’s Looming Philanthropic Revolution By Paul G. Schervish

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Comments shared by Paul G. Schervish at the GenSpring Family Offices 2007 Family Symposium. Published 2009. To provide some historical perspective on charitable giving, Paul offers highlights from an essay published in 1930 by John Maynard Keynes, the well-known British economist revered as one of the fathers of macroeconomics. In addition, he frams his comments in the context of the “4 M’s:” Money, Meaning, Motives, and Moral Biography.

 

Religious Giving by David H. Smith

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The focus of this article is the religious discernment process as a guide for wealth holders in the allocation of their wealth. The hope is that religious discernment – as a key element of religious giving – will shape the spiritual horizons of wealth and philanthropy to the same extent that findings on the ongoing wealth transfer are shaping the material horizons…

 

Forecast for 2009 by JOHN J. HAVENS AND PAUL G. SCHERVISH

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For the large diverse populations, such as that of the United States, household charitable giving is most strongly and consistently related to household income and wealth. Most national and state estimates of future charitable giving are based in large part on macro or micro values of income and wealth. Researchers can measure how changes in income and wealth, for example during the 2008-2009 recession, affect changes in charitable giving only when date on financial resources and their valuation become available. Fortunately, some of this financial information becomes available on a preliminary basis each quarter. However, there are no quarterly data on charitable giving. To date, researchers have been unable to generate estimates of household charitable giving (and their relationship to income and wealth) in as timely a way as may be useful for charities. Charities naturally would like to know estimates of charitable giving, for example, for the most recent quarter and to receive projections for the near future.