Pictured above - Andrew Carnegie one of the richest and most charitable men in American history.
In his visit to the United States Tocqueville noted that one of the things that makes the United States unique is the strength and scope of its civil society. He noted on countless Americans voluntarily contribute their time and money to thousands and thousands of charities, churches and civic organizations with no direct self benefit to themselves.
The more I learn about other cultures, the more I can tell you with certainty that this is an exception to the rule that this makes America a unique and wonderful country.
In many nations the wealthy watch as half their nation starves. But in the United States the great leaders of commerce from Carnegie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Carnegie) to Gates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates_foundation) voluntarily donated vast sums of money to better their fellow citizens. And many educated people, who I greatly respect, opt for lower paying jobs in the non-profit sector.
In socialist and social democratic countries in which the state supposedly intervenes on behalf of the poor, the typical citizen will not voluntarily spend a dime or a minute of their time on behalf of their brethren. Caring for the poor, supporting arts and education is the job of the state, not of private citizens.
That which takes a century to create can be undone by the sloth of a generation. I fear that as the nanny state expands and becomes the cradle-to-grave caregiver, our great civil society and sense of social initiative will wither. And as the state usurps more and more of our wealth, those who once gave freely and joyfully will tightly cling to their diminishing wealth.
Here are some great organizations; I encourage you to give to one or more of them - our messiah, the great Obama can not yet cure the blind and turn water into wine, so the poor and sick still need your help.