June 22, 2018
Mass. Ranks High in Charitable Giving, But Low in Volunteering

February 12, 2017 — Massachusetts ranked 14, out of the 50 states, in terms of charitable giving last year, but near the bottom, at number of 49, in terms of volunteering and service, according to a recent analysis that suggests charities have entered "a period of deep uncertainty" in 2017.

Massachusetts was assigned an overall rank of 41 by WalletHub, based in Washington, D.C., and was based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Corporation for National & Community Service, Education Commission of the States, National Center for Charitable Statistics, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Internal Revenue Service, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Foundation Group, Feeding America and Gallup.

According to the WalletHub report, "2016's Most and Least Charitable States", Massachusetts posted one of the lowest shares of donated income to charity last year, ranked at 46, followed by Rhode Island (47), Maine (48), New Jersey (49), and New Hampshire (50).

Yet, Massachusetts has the third highest number of charities per capita among the 50 states, surpassed only by Montana( 2), and Vermont (1).

Since many people donate to charity, for example through religious organizations, and don't claim those deductions on their tax returns, there will be a difference between the share of the population claiming to have donated money and the percent of taxpayers who donated money to charity. In Massachusetts that difference was 35% in 2016.

"Charities are in a period of deep uncertainty, because it is impossible to know whether and how the Trump administration will act on his campaign promises," said Rebecca Riccio, director of the Social Impact Lab at Northeastern University.

She added, "The new Congress may also embrace priorities that decrease funding while increasing the need for the types of programs and services charities provide. The current environment proves how essential it is for us to have a robust and thriving nonprofit sector, but organizations and donors may be stretched more than ever as they are forced to grapple with competing urgent demands."

Based on measures that include percentage of income donated, rate of volunteer, hours volunteered per capita, percentage of the population who donates time and money, percentage of the population who donates collected and/or distributed food and clothing, number of public charities per capita, percentage of sheltered homeless, and whether there is a community service requirement for high school graduation, 2016's Most and Least Charitable States ranked Utah as the most generous state, as it did last year, followed by Minnesota, North Dakota, Maryland, and Oklahoma. At the bottom of the list were Arizona, California, Texas, Nevada, and Hawai'i.

The report also found that among the poorest and most charitable states were West Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, while among the richest and least charitable were California, Hawai'i, Texas, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

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