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Taking an interest in youths

These days charity is likely to begin at work. And end up at school.

Cause-related marketing has been around for a while. A handful of outfits, like Paul Newman's, donate all their profits to charity.

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Companies like Ben & Jerry's build social responsibility into their business plans, sharing some of what they earn.

Big corporations have long spread money around too. But today many choose to focus their philanthropy - and many are choosing kids (see story at right).

More strategic than altruistic? Maybe. But trends in individual giving also suggest a growing interest in investing in the young. And individuals today shape company policies as never before.

We hear a lot about the rich pulling far ahead of the poor (see page 16). And historically the poorest Americans have been the ones who've dug deepest.

Sounds bad for charity.

But charitable giving by the wealthiest 1 percent has climbed in recent years.

One reason: The new entrepreneurial rich (most of them highly educated) seem increasingly attuned to the idea of giveback.

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The nonprofit Capital Research Center in Washington cites a rise in giving in the hottest pockets of entrepreneurial California, for example - an area once called "stingy" by philanthropy-trackers.

It cites figures from a local community foundation that indicate 83 percent of Silicon Valley households give to charity (14 percent above the US average).

A major beneficiary: education. Child-related causes in general won "special focus" all across the state. A happy development in the Western wellspring of trends.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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