State ranks near the bottom for charitable giving
MILWAUKEE Wisconsin ranks near the bottom of states for charitable giving, according to a new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Wisconsin ranks 44th among the 50 states, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Residents contributed $2 billion, based on 2008 dollars, with a median contribution of $1,747, according to the study published this week that takes an extensive look at giving in America.
That means residents allocated 3.4 percent of their income to charity. The national median is 4.7 percent.
Utah, with a large Mormon population and a tradition of tithing, was the most giving state. Utah residents allocate 10.6 percent of their income to charity. New Hampshire ranked last, with residents donating 2.5 percent of their income to charity.
The study relied on 2008 Internal Revenue Service data from itemized deductions. Only taxpayers who earned $50,000 or more were examined. For total contributions, Wisconsin ranked 26th.
Deborah Fugenschuh is president of the Donors Forum of Wisconsin, which works to promote and support philanthropy. She wasn't surprised by Wisconsin's ranking.
"It's always been that way," she said. "It isn't new news. We just don't have the wealth that many states have. Our wealth is earned. And we don't have deep inherited wealth. We do have very wealthy people, but we don't have a strong middle class."
Wisconsinites aren't unwilling to help those in need, she said.
"We are frugal. We respond to disasters," she said. "But it's an important time to sustain our social services network."