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Jun 19, 2013

Data on Philanthropy Show Varying Effort

I just had a chance to look at the study the Chronicle of Philanthropy did on charitable giving based on IRS 1040 itemized deductions. They have a great database that allows searches by state, county, metro area, or zip code.  There are several ways to evaluate generosity:  total amount given, median amount given, or gifts as percent of discretionary income (all forms of income minus taxes, housing costs, and other living expenses).  The Chronicle’s evaluation of the data, and cautions on how to use it, is here.  Its data is based on taxpayers who earned $50,000 or more in 2008.

Ohio is a reasonably generous state.  Its citizens gave $3.8 billion, making Ohio the 12th most generous state.  The median Ohio individual (actually tax return for married filing jointly) gave $1,953, so half gave more and half gave less.  This amounted to 4.1 percent of their discretionary income.

How do the major Ohio counties compare?  Of the 3 C’s, Cuyahoga county (Cleveland) citizens gave the most, $530 million, followed by Franklin (Columbus) at $468 million, and Hamilton (Cincinnati) at $462 million.  Population and relative wealth are important influences on this amount,  The median gift was largest for Hamilton ($2,306) and Franklin ($2,111).  While Cuyahoga gave the most, the median individual giving was below the state median ($1,936 versus $1,953 statewide).

Comparing giving to discretionary income, the rankings change again.  Franklin had the highest percentage (4.6%), then Hamilton (4.4%), then Cuyahoga (4.3%), all above the state percentage.

Who is most generous?  Who can judge?  I only know that what is important is that the purpose be to support the nonprofit, not to accomplish a goal by using a nonprofit as a “cheap” supplier.

Being from Central Ohio I look at the major counties here:  Franklin, Delaware, Licking, and Fairfield.  Which do you think has the most generous citizens?

Franklin, giving $468 million, with median giving of $2,111 at 4.6% of discretionary income?

Delaware, giving $112 million, with median giving of $2,227 at 3.8% of discretionary income?

Licking, giving $46 million, with median giving of $1,744 at 3.7% of discretionary income?

Fairfield, giving $46 million, with median giving of $1,983 at 4.2% of discretionary income?

How do you compare as an individual donor?