'Giving-While-Living' Philanthropy Dies in Ireland

Philanthropists clench fists as wealth evaporates
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2009 7:32 PM CDT
Irish celebrities participate in a charity event.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Like the rest of the recession-plagued world, Ireland isn’t as affluent as it used to be, but the country is especially weakened now that declining wealth is denting its burgeoning culture of philanthropy, GlobalPost reports. Three years ago, the Irish were Europe’s second-wealthiest citizens, but bad assets have cost them $142 billion—just as demand for donations is growing.

Even at its peak, philanthropy in Ireland trailed the US and UK, but the nouveau riche had begun embracing a “giving-while-living” ethos. Charities were collecting $645 million annually, “but now people are beginning to see their wealth disappear,” and community organizations are suffering, said a foundation director. Stacked against a recession, philanthropy “has been knocked on its ass,” she added.