New England Philanthropy: Gift Givers
Given our reputation for thrift, it was no surprise when New England’s six states fared poorly on the 2005 Generosity Index published by the Catalogue for Philanthropy. New Hampshire ranked last in the nation, followed by Massachusetts (49), Rhode Island (47), Connecticut (45), Vermont (34), and Maine (30).
Two other reports issued in November 2005 argue, however, that these statistics are misleading. A study commissioned by the Boston Foundation found that the Generosity Index Methodology, which uses income tax returns to measure how much people give against how much they have, was biased against high-income states.
In addition, a study by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found that a) New Englanders give less annually ($918) to religious causes than the national average ($1,743) but give more ($1,190) to secular causes than the national average ($863), and b) a much higher percentage of New England residents (82 percent) donate to charity than the national average (67 percent).
These studies confirm what those of us who live here know: New Englanders are public-spirited folks who give of their wealth as well as their time and their talents.