Greedy baby boomers, who spent the Reagan-era in an orgy of conspicuous consumption, are showing a new spirit of caring for others - giving both time and money, a new study said Tuesday.
At the same time, the new study by Independent Sector, showed that the wealthy are still "stingy" and the less affluent still more generous in terms of making monetary sacrifices for charitable causes.The study showed that more than 98 million Americans - a whopping 23 percent increase over 1987 - volunteered their time and talent to charitable endeavors in 1989.
It also found that 75 percent of American households are contributing to charitable causes, with the average contribution of a household $734, up 20 percent, after inflation, from two years ago.
"The dramatic increase in donating time and money among the baby boom generation is good news for today and may suggest even better news for the future as this very large population group assumes community responsibility," said Independent Sector president Brian O'Connell.
"Previous surveys indicated rather disappointing giving and volunteering by this group," O'Connell said.
Independent Sector is a coalition of national voluntary organizations and donor groups that work to encourage giving, volunteering and the non-profit sector.
The report, "Giving and Volunteering in the United States," is the second in a series conducted every two years by Independent Sector and provides comprehensive information on trends and motivations in giving and volunteering.
"Fortunately, at a time when needed most, giving and volunteering are up in almost all categories," said Virginia Hodgkinson, vice president for research of the group.
She noted that 86 percent of Americans between 35 and 44 years of age contributed to charity in 1989, up 9 percentage points from two years ago, and 64 percent of persons between 35 and 44 volunteered time, an increase of 10 percentage points.
And, perhaps reflecting a recognition of the deep budget cuts of the Reagan era, especially among programs for the poor and needy, an overwhelming majority - 81 percent - said charities are needed more today than in the past.