News Release

President Oaks Encourages a ‘Spirit of Giving’ in Society

Former state supreme court justice speaks as honorary chair of 2019 Utah Philanthropy Day

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke Tuesday in the Salt Palace about the importance of private philanthropy and persuading “citizens to a ‘spirit of giving’ in our communities and in our personal efforts throughout the state.”


The senior Church leader’s comments came at the Utah Philanthropy Day 20th anniversary celebration luncheon in his role as the event’s honorary chair. The Association of Fundraising Professionals Utah Chapter, Utah Nonprofits Association and UServeUtah have gathered to celebrate Utah’s philanthropists every November since 1999.

President Oaks has supported private philanthropy at the nation’s highest levels. The former Utah state supreme court justice testified in 2011 before the United States Senate Finance Committee in Washington, D.C., about the importance of maintaining tax deductions for personal charitable donations.

“While I appear here as a religious leader,” the then-Elder Oaks said in 2011, “the possible impairment of the charitable deduction in order to enhance tax revenues is not a religious issue. It is not a political issue. It is not even an economic issue. It poses a question about the nature and future of America.”

President Oaks echoed that plea Tuesday in Salt Lake City. He said the United States’ invaluable private associations noted two centuries ago by the French diplomat and astute observer of America Alexis de Tocqueville are just as important today as ever.

“The private sector is essential to preserving pluralism and freedom in our nation,” the 87-year-old Church leader said. “Millions of these ‘private associations’ — religious and charitable — are responsible for tens of millions of jobs and innumerable services that benefit our citizens at every level. These include private educational institutions, hospitals, social welfare agencies, and innumerable other organizations ministering to the needs of children, youth, the aged, the poor, and citizens generally. The financial well-being of this essential private sector is dependent upon private contributions—philanthropy. And the impact of these private contributions on those they serve is magnified by the millions of volunteers motivated by the philanthropic ideals you pursue. You are an essential part of that great service.”

“I salute you for your work in support of private philanthropy,” President Oaks concluded.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.