Marybeth Gasman, Noah D. Drezner, Edward C. Epstein
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All of the world’s religions ask their followers to give of themselves through wealth and service. Whether according to the concept of tzedakah in Judaism, the idea of charity in Christianity, or the belief of zakat in Islam, there is an understanding that anyone, no matter how meek, can give of himself or herself to help others. Religion’s influence on American philanthropy predates the founding of the country by over a century. The first solicitations of education, hospitals, and support for the underprivileged were all made by clergy or on behalf of the church.1 How does religion influence the current generation of America’s foundation and nonprofit leaders? And how, in particular, does it affect the lives and careers of Black and female leaders? This chapter explores the influence of religion on the work of those who engage in philanthropy professionally. We begin with a brief look at how the major religions engage in philanthropic giving.