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TELL US: Which Area Community Is Most Generous?

In light of today's findings from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, we want to know what you think about generosity in the North Shore and beyond.

Massachusetts was at the bottom when it came to rankings and there were some notable differences when it came to giving habits in different North Shore communities.

In light of these findings, we want to know what your take is on genorosity on the North Shore.

  • Do you agree with Does it resonate with your personal experiences?
  • What accounts for the differences in giving in our area?
  • How do you give back locally? What causes do you generally support?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Remember to keep it clean. If you violate our terms of use (check it out here) your comment will be deleted and your account may be suspended. If you have the urge to use profanity, an asterisk "*" will not suffice. Please find another way to make your point so we can keep the forum a place where all are comfortable sharing and conversing about the city.


Beth O'Grady August 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM
I am surprised we rank so low. From my volunteer experience, I've found Salem businesses to be as generous as they can be, but have noticed some that would donate $ past years may be inclinded to donate a gift certificate or services instead but most still contribute. I've found individuals to be generous within their means as long as the cause is meaningful to them and they feel their donation is being used wisely. But in past years we've all had to tighten up a bit. Overall, I feel lucky to volunteer in what I feel is a very generous community.
Dave August 21, 2012 at 02:18 PM
From the original article: "when donations to religious organizations are taken out of the picture, people in the Northeast give the most (1.4 percent of their incomes) and Southerners give the least (.9 percent of their incomes), according to the publication." So, in fact, we are very generous. Just not to religions.
Vivian Merrill August 21, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Had their survey considered the time people spend volunteering, I bet the results would be much different. I do not have extra financial resources, but I spend plenty of time volunteering, which I think is very important, too.
Michael Quinlan August 21, 2012 at 02:34 PM
'Dave' considers 1.4% very generous? Southerners give 7% when including religious giving and .9% when not including religious. Northeast residents give 2.8% when religious included and 1.4% when not included. Since the Southerners give 6.1% to religious while the Northeast gives only 1.4% to religious, the Northeasters have much larger amount of their incomes not committed to charity. It would be interesting to see numbers regarding how much money people who give to religious organizations give to secular organizations. I'll bet a disproportionate amount is donated by religious people who have a proven propensity to donate money to charity.
John Doe August 21, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Michael, we also have a larger portion of our income go to taxes and expenses. NY and MA have 8% and 6.5% sales tax respectively along with high income taxes. Further the northeast has the highest health insurance and auto insurance premiums in the country while the south has some of the lowest. How about letting me keep more of what I earn before criticizing me for "only" giving people some of my net income.
Dave August 21, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Michael, I do not consider giving to religious organizations an act of charity. Some of those pastors of the mega-churches are living high off of those so-called 'charitable' donations.
s August 21, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Dave, I agree with you that giving to a organizations spreading some brand of superstitious fiction should not be considered 'charity'. Charity is giving to anyone for any cause, because it is the right thing to do. Giving to one's own gang or social club, which is just lucky enough to get tax-free status does not make that an act of charity. Neither do all acts of charity and kindness show up as itemized deductions of those earning >$50,000 and show up in the IRS Database used as the source for this study. It be interesting to see how many of those so-called 'charitable contributions' are made towards religions or churchs or mosques or synogogues which the given is not a member. Else I'd call that membership fees to one self, and one's own social club. As the Mormons quoted in the AP article say "10% is needed to remain in the church in good standing" - sounds like a golf membership I know. Didn't you notice how the opposite conclusion about the North East being most charitable once religions donates are factored out, that part omitted from most newspapers, perhaps your local one too? google "People in the Northeast give the most — 1.4 percent of their" for the uncensored version.
Bill August 21, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Exactly - lower giving happens in "blue" states for two reason, the higher costs of living and taxes as mentioned by John Doe and the political philosophy - liberals really care about the poor and the needy, they just prefer they been taken care of with other people's money rather than their own.
Keith Lucy August 21, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Name one.
Ron Powell August 21, 2012 at 07:12 PM
And yet, even when excluding the giving to religious institutions, you will find that it is regular church-goers who give more to charities who support the poor and needy. And they out-give non-church goers at every single income level. Perhaps it is these religious institutions that are providing a base for their generosity. Secularists tend to donate to libraries, the arts, and museums. While these are certainly beneficial, are these really any more beneficial to a society than a church or synagogue?
KlassySalem August 21, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Are we really trying to exclude the giving by people to organizations like the Salvation Army, which does incredible work with the poor and disabled, because of a religious affiliation, but not nitpicking giving to organizations like the PEM, which pays its executive director how much, again, or Harvard, which has an endowment of more than 32 billion dollars, and pays some professors more than 300k to not teach there? Sad. Clearly everyone's priorities are correct.
Archie Bunker August 21, 2012 at 08:15 PM
The left would have us believe that giving to your church or synagogue is contributing to an "anti-gay" institution. Such utter nonsense! Before the government became the social safety net for the poor churches and religious institutions were the primary providers of services to the poor. They administered their services frugally and efficiently and helped the most needy among us. Now that government is the provider of services to the poor and take our money at gunpoint to provide it. They provide EBT cards with which you can buy all manner of non essential services like, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, gourmet whoopee pies, etc. The overhead for providing these services is also provided with reckless abandon, state pensions and benefits are busting the budgets of cities and towns throughout the "commonwealth" (Irony). Housing is provided to illegal aliens like the President's relatives while US citizens are living on the streets! Where is our incentive to give to charity when the Government is throwing it down one rat hole after another in the name of "assistance"?
john August 21, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Some of the most generouse people in the world never are known until they are gone. Living in Salem,Ma its hard to be generouse when Federal,State an Local government are constantly picking your pocket.I feel very generouse about the amount of money I have taken away from me!!!
Ron Powell August 21, 2012 at 10:34 PM
I would encourage anyone who believes that giving to a church should not count as charity because it amounts to "giving to one's own gang or social club" to shadow a church staff worker for an entire day. A typical work day runs anywhere from 12 to 16 hours, and it is mostly spent visiting the sick, shut-ins, and those in prison. It's also spent conducting weddings, funerals, marital counseling, and consoling families who have lost loves ones. It's spent mediating disputes between church members and encouraging recovering addicts. Only a small portion of the time is spent preparing sermons, and most get only one day off per week. First take the time to do this, and then see if you do not agree with me that almost all of these works constitute helping people in need and are not merely the activities of a social club.
Archie Bunker August 21, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Thank you for your work Ron!
Ron Powell August 22, 2012 at 12:25 AM
According to "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism," conservatives donate 44% more time to volunteering for charitable causes than do liberals. Conservatives also donate more blood.
Matt Buchanan August 22, 2012 at 03:34 AM
The moment you report the charity you have given I personally no longer consider it charity, I call it ego.
Ron Powell August 22, 2012 at 03:50 AM
The study considers giving as a percentage of "median discretionary income." Discretionary income "is money remaining after all bills are paid off. It is income after subtracting taxes and normal expenses (such as rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, medical, transportation, property maintenance, child support, inflation, food and sundries, etc.) to maintain a certain standard of living. It is the amount of an individual's income available for spending after the essentials (such as food, clothing, and shelter) have been taken care of: Discretionary income = Gross income - taxes - necessities" Source: Wikipedia, Chronicle of Philanthropy
Cool Fusion August 22, 2012 at 12:02 PM
I blame Yoko for breaking up the band. It seems this graphical evidence demonstrates conclusively that the higher the taxes - the lower the donations to charitiy. The irony is that Obama's plan to harvest the rich to employ hacks will surely shutdown legions of non-profit organizations, philantrophic benefactors, and institutional endowments. Reality is a harsh mistress.
Bill August 22, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I call it a tax deduction

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