New State-by-State Assessment of U.S. Charitable Giving:

Second Annual Survey by Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy

Establishes National Standard for Measurement

Report Identifies New York, Utah and California as Leaders in Giving

Nov 16, 2006, 00:00 ET from Boston College

    CHESTNUT HILL, Mass., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- New research by the
 Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College identifies New York,
 Utah, California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia,
 Massachusetts, Hawaii and South Carolina as the ten leaders in charitable
 giving among the 50 states. In addition, the District of Columbia was
 second only to New York in the new report, released this week by the Boston
 Foundation [see table below for full list].
     The report on charitable giving is a follow-up to a report called
 Generosity and Geography, which was researched by John J. Havens and Paul
 G. Schervish of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at BC and released by
 the Boston Foundation in November of 2005. That report was commissioned as
 part of a body of research into the prospects of future philanthropy in
 Greater Boston. In the process of that inquiry, the report raised serious
 questions about the validity of the Generosity Index, published annually by
 the Catalogue for Philanthropy, which purports to rank all 50 states in
 terms of generosity. Last year's Boston Foundation report challenged the
 conclusions of the Generosity Index by eliminating what the Boston
 Foundation believes is its built-in bias against high-income states that
 makes the Generosity Index an inaccurate comparative measure of charitable
     The Generosity Index has received national attention every year for its
 ranking of states by their purported "generosity" and each year has
 reported that many states in New England and the Northeast are "less
 generous" than less wealthy states in the South.
     "The investigation undertaken by the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy
 and sponsored by the Boston Foundation questioned the Index's methodology,"
 said BC's Paul Schervish. "It also quickly established that significant
 differences in tax burdens, the cost of living, as well as religious
 tradition and other elements must to be taken into consideration in order
 to meaningfully compare the giving of residents in one state to another."
     Schervish, director of the Center and a nationally recognized
 sociologist and philanthropy expert, and Havens, the Center's Associate
 Director and Senior Research Associate, then went on to create a new
 methodology that takes into consideration each state's cost of living and
 the tax burden, including changes within states that are driven by levels
 of urbanization-which affects cost of living at the more local level. The
 2006 report released today includes all of these variables.
     "The power of this report goes far beyond simply again casting serious
 doubt about the validity of the Generosity Index," said Paul S. Grogan,
 President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. "John Havens and Paul Schervish
 have made an important contribution to a new, national effort to develop
 valid metrics to place the whole subject of philanthropy on a more
 professional and credible foundation. This report provides a valuable
 national service in this pioneering work."
     Leaders in philanthropic institutions also responded to the new report.
     "This report comes as a tremendous relief," said Hans Dekker, President
 and CEO of the Community Foundation of New Jersey. "It confirms and
 provides compelling evidence for what we always knew to be the case-that
 New Jersey is a very generous state and that its residents make charitable
 giving a high priority."
     Since the first Boston Foundation report, Generosity and Geography, was
 issued in November, 2005, a second report comparing giving patterns in the
 states has been issued by NewTithing Group, a nonprofit based in San
 Francisco. Its report, Wealth & Generosity by State, correlates with the
 Boston Foundation report by creating a means of calculating and comparing
 giving nationally with an adjustment for the cost of living.
     It differs from the report released by the Boston Foundation in two
 ways. First, it divides the population of each state into two groups, one
 more affluent, one less affluent-the breakpoint is $200,000 in annual
 income. In contrast, the Boston Foundation report calculates rates of
 charitable giving for the entire state population. Second, the NewTithing
 Group report places emphasis on liquid asset wealth, which is closely
 related to philanthropic giving among wealthier donors, rather than income.
     The NewTithing Group's report reflects the nonprofit's goal of
 increasing levels of giving among more affluent Americans by creating
 standards that make it possible to compare populations responsible for the
 preponderance of charitable giving-those with high levels of personal
 assets. A full discussion of the organization's methodology are available
     The Boston Foundation report, entitled Center on Wealth and
 Philanthropy Charitable Giving Indices: Social Indicators of Philanthropy
 by State, is now available on the Boston Foundation website at, as well as at the Boston College website for the CWP at It includes tables that lay out in detail
 the work undertaken by Havens and Schervish. These tables:
     * Detail the number of households and per-household, before-tax income by
       state with data for 2004 (the most recent year for which data is
     * Identify and compare the relative tax burden borne by residents of all
       50 states and the District of Columbia;
     * Show per-household incomes adjusted according to nationally recognized
     * Show after-tax income adjusted by a cost-of-living index;
     * And ultimately identify all 50 states (and the District of Columbia)
       according to a fully adjusted index of charitable giving relative to
     As in the 2005 report published by the Boston Foundation and entitled
 Generosity and Geography, Schervish and Havens call for avoiding the word
 "generosity" in this and similar works of research.
     "Generosity is a moral, spiritual or social psychological
 characteristic of individuals and perhaps families and households," the
 authors write. "We do not believe that the term generosity should be
 associated with our measures, nor any other measures that do not directly
 study the inner disposition ... of generosity. In truth, every purported
 generosity index that has ranked states is, in fact, a charitable giving
     The report underscores the fact that for many in Massachusetts, the
 high cost of housing and other necessities of life places a significant
 burden on the ability of many families and individuals to make charitable
 contributions. Yet, unlike some surveys of giving in recent months which
 have focused only on residents with the highest levels of income or
 personal wealth, the current report includes the entire population of the
     "There are many important characteristics that have an impact on the
 decisions individuals and families make about charitable giving," said
 Schervish. "Religious affiliation, the presence of nonprofit organizations
 to create giving opportunities, ethnic differences-even the nature of work
 residents of an area traditionally engage in can have an effect. Farmers
 may tend to hold more money in reserve because their livelihood is so
 vulnerable to the whims of weather. It would be inappropriate to describe
 farmers as less generous as a result-in their case, giving less may make
 compelling sense. This charitable giving index takes that context into
     The table below provides summary information from the New Boston
 Foundation report. The column on the far right lists the comparative
 ranking of the 50 states and the District of Columbia according to the
 level of charitable giving.
   Table 9: CWP Measure 4 of Giving Relative to Income Ranked by State, 2004
                 Share       Share of       Share of After Tax    CWP Measure 4
     State        of         Charitable     Income Adjusted by
               Households   Contributions   CWP Cost of Living    Value  Rank
     New York       6.6%          8.5%               4.3%             1.96    1
      of Columbia   0.2%          0.4%               0.2%             1.84    2
     Utah           0.7%          1.3%               0.8%             1.56    3
     California    11.3%         12.9%               9.3%             1.40    4
     Connecticut    1.3%          1.6%               1.2%             1.33    5
     Maryland       1.9%          2.9%               2.5%             1.18    6
     New Jersey     2.9%          3.3%               2.8%             1.16    7
     Georgia        3.0%          3.6%               3.2%             1.12    8
     Massachusetts  2.2%          2.3%               2.0%             1.12    9
     Hawaii         0.4%          0.3%               0.3%             1.08   10
     South Carolina 1.4%          1.5%               1.4%             1.05   11
     Delaware       0.3%          0.3%               0.3%             1.04   12
     North Carolina 2.9%          3.1%               3.0%             1.04   13
     Virginia       2.5%          3.0%               2.9%             1.04   14
     Illinois       4.3%          4.2%               4.0%             1.04   15
     Nevada         0.8%          0.9%               0.9%             1.01   16
     Alabama        1.6%          1.6%               1.6%             0.95   17
     Wyoming        0.2%          0.2%               0.2%             0.95   18
     Oregon         1.3%          1.2%               1.2%             0.93   19
     Oklahoma       1.2%          1.2%               1.3%             0.91   20
     Michigan       3.5%          3.2%               3.5%             0.91   21
     Washington     2.2%          2.1%               2.3%             0.90   22
     Florida        6.2%          6.1%               6.8%             0.89   23
     Pennsylvania   4.3%          3.7%               4.1%             0.89   24
     Louisiana      1.5%          1.1%               1.2%             0.89   25
     Rhode Island   0.4%          0.3%               0.3%             0.87   26
     Idaho          0.5%          0.5%               0.5%             0.85   27
     Arkansas       1.0%          0.9%               1.0%             0.85   28
     Colorado       1.6%          1.7%               2.0%             0.84   29
     Minnesota      1.8%          1.9%               2.3%             0.84   30
     Montana        0.3%          0.2%               0.3%             0.84   31
     Tennessee      2.1%          1.9%               2.3%             0.83   32
     Kansas         1.0%          0.9%               1.0%             0.82   33
     Texas          7.2%          6.8%               8.4%             0.81   34
     Kentucky       1.5%          1.1%               1.4%             0.81   35
     Ohio           4.0%          3.1%               3.9%             0.78   36
     Nebraska       0.6%          0.5%               0.7%             0.77   37
     Alaska         0.2%          0.2%               0.2%             0.77   38
     Arizona        1.9%          1.7%               2.3%             0.76   39
     Wisconsin      2.0%          1.5%               2.0%             0.76   40
     New Hampshire  0.4%          0.3%               0.5%             0.73   41
     Maine          0.5%          0.3%               0.4%             0.73   42
     Mississippi    1.0%          0.7%               1.0%             0.72   43
     Indiana        2.2%          1.7%               2.3%             0.71   44
     Missouri       2.0%          1.7%               2.4%             0.70   45
     New Mexico     0.7%          0.4%               0.6%             0.66   46
     Iowa           1.1%          0.8%               1.2%             0.66   47
     South Dakota   0.3%          0.2%               0.3%             0.65   48
     Vermont        0.2%          0.1%               0.2%             0.61   49
     West Virginia  0.6%          0.3%               0.6%             0.58   50
     North Dakota   0.2%          0.1%               0.3%             0.50   51
      States      100.0%        100.0%             100.0%             1.00
     Source: Calculated at the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy based on
 data from Table 8 of this report.
     The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston's community foundation, is one of
 the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with assets of
 over $765 million. In 2005, the Foundation and its donors made more than
 $60 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of more
 than $70 million. The Foundation is made up of some 850 separate charitable
 funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community
 or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic
 leader, provider of information, convener, and sponsor of special
 initiatives designed to address the community's and region's most pressing
 challenges. For more information about the Boston Foundation, visit or call 617-338-1700.
     The Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy is a
 multidisciplinary research center specializing in the study of
 spirituality, wealth, philanthropy and other aspects of cultural life in an
 age of affluence. Founded in 1970, the Center is a recognized authority on
 the relation between economic wherewithal and philanthropy, the motivations
 for charitable involvement and the underlying meaning of practice of care.

SOURCE Boston College