Thanks For Giving—How Does Your State Stack Up?

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and some states are giving thanks for being named among the most charitable in the nation.

Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy just released its list of the most generous states. New York topped the list, while North Dakota was at the bottom.

Unlike most surveys on giving, Boston College’s report included giving habits of the entire state’s population, not just of those with the highest level of income or personal wealth.

“There are many important characteristics that have an impact on the decisions individuals and families make about charitable giving,” said one of the authors of the report. “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.”

As I mentioned earlier, the survey listed New York as the leader in charitable giving among the 50 states. Rounding out the top ten was Washington, D.C., Utah, California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Hawaii.

Did your state make the top ten? My home state of Hawaii did. I’m not surprised (she said in the most humble way possible). It’s true. Local studies on Hawaii’s giving habits indicate as much. A 2002 study from the Hawaii Community Foundation showed that 92% of households made donations to charities the prior year. The Boston College study showed Hawaii’s total charitable contributions totaled about $688 million in 2004, with the mean contribution per household at $1,611.

Are you surprised by the survey’s results?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.