America’s commitment to philanthropy is unique among nations—it is a tangible example of American exceptionalism. Charity is an essential ingredient in our prosperity, happiness, and freedom. But America’s great tradition of voluntary giving may be jeopardized by economic challenges on the horizon. AEI President Arthur Brooks is overseeing a multi-year project which begins with a new research report analyzing the impact of the recent recession on giving and which discusses the optimal policies for encouraging the growth of private philanthropy. This paper is just one component of a broader effort that will include articles, op-eds, research papers, events, and other activities aimed at ensuring America’s culture of philanthropy remains entrenched as an important part of our national heritage.