As of January 18, 2010, two-thirds of U.S. adults (64 percent), and an even higher percentage of African-Americans (81 percent), have given or plan to give to relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti, according to a survey conducted by Zogby Interactive, a Utica, N.Y., research company.
Interesting aside: Jonah Lehrer in “How We Decide” (see next blog) shows in the “ultimatum game” that decisions that researchers might think would be more “selfish” in nature are actually based on a kind of moral sense of fairness. Our brain synapses get boosts of dopamine when we receive rewards or gifts, but we also get almost as much of a dopamine boost when we give to charities and participate in altruistic causes. So we to some degree have a “hardwired” predisposition to give aid to others.
Don’t let this take away from your own personal decision and free will to give. It is just that biology and neurology help us to be what we really want to be anyway. Two of my year in and year out favorite charities who are always hard at work are: www.oxfam.org and www.doctorswithoutborders.org , but I am sure you have your own.