Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How generous is your state?

Thanksgiving is done with (hope yours was peaceful and happy), and we're now officially into the Holiday Season. That means plenty to each of us personally, of course, but as nonprofit professionals it also means quite a bit work-wise as well.

As you hope for the best return on that holiday pitch you should have already prepared, and as you get set for those final big asks of the year, you might want to see where your state stands in the new state-by-state assessment of charitable giving.

Prepared by the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, this second annual survey takes into consideration such factors as each state's religious and ethnic group mix, the existence of nonprofit organizations, and the local cost of living and tax burden, "including changes within states that are driven by levels of urbanization-which affects cost of living at the more local level," in order to more fairly index the comparisons.

Now, however you interpret the results, don't make the mistake of calling this a "generosity index." The authors caution:
"Generosity is a moral, spiritual or social psychological characteristic of individuals and perhaps families and households. 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 index."
And the top five states for charitable giving are... New York, the District of Columbia, Utah, California, and Connecticut. And, at the bottom, Iowa, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and North Dakota.

You can download the full report from Boston College at

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