Women and men business owners surpass the general population in their level of involvement in philanthropy, both in money donated and time volunteered, according to a new survey that was conducted by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners (NFWBO), in cooperation with The Committee of 200 (C200) and underwritten by Merrill Lynch's Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management.

Business owners make charitable contributions through their businesses and many have programs to encourage their employees to volunteer. Women entrepreneurs are highly motivated philanthropists who are more likely than men entrepreneurs to participate in leadership roles when they volunteer for charitable organizations. The report, "Leaders in Business and Community," is based on a national survey among 226 women and 235 men business owners.

"Nine out of ten business owners (92% of women and 88% of men) contribute money to charities, compared to 70% of all U.S. households surveyed by the Independent Sector1 in 1999," noted NFWBO Chair Nina McLemore. "Nearly one-third of the business owners surveyed by NFWBO (31% of women, 30% of men) make significant personal charitable contributions of $5,000 or more per year, including 15% and 13%, respectively, who contribute $10,000 or more." McLemore is President of Regent Capital, a private investment firm, and a member of C200.

Entrepreneurs are also active volunteers with charitable organizations. Seven out of ten of the business owners surveyed (68% of women, 72% of men) by NFWBO volunteer at least once in a typical month, compared to 62% of all women and 50% of all men in the U.S.

Women and men business owners who contribute and volunteer have increased their philanthropy in recent years. Fully half (52%) of women business owners state that their level of financial support has increased over the past five years, and 51% say that the hours devoted to charitable activities have likewise increased. Among men, 48% say their financial support has increased, and 39% say that the time they devote to charitable activities has increased.

In many ways, women and men business owners are similar in their philanthropy. Not only are they alike in their charitable giving, they volunteer a similar amount of time an average of about a dozen hours per month. However, women entrepreneurs are more likely to use that volunteer time in leadership positions. "These women not only lead their businesses, they are leading charitable organizations by serving on boards, and chairing fundraisers and special events," noted McLemore.

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