Uncharitable Wisconsin?


Wisconsin residents give less money to charity than almost any other state in the nation. According to a new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the state ranks 45th out of 50 states for percentage of income donated each year.

Assistant Managing Editor for the Chronicle of Philanthropy Peter Panepento suspects the state’s low ranking may have something to do with religious affiliation. He said, “So states like Utah and Alabama and Mississippi, which were the top three on our list, all of those states have really really high religious participation rates. I’m not sure what Wisconsin’s religious make up is, but I would suspect that that was a large factor in why it did not score so high on our list.”

The Chronicle also found that red states donate more than blue states, and that the middle class donates a higher percentage of their income than do those making more than $200,000 a year. Panepento says the most important finding may be that tax incentives for charitable giving have a profound effect on how much money people donate. “We did find that some states that have put in place tax incentives to motivate people in their home states to give to certain types of charities, they tended to do better than that had in previous looks at the same data.”

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Milwaukee had a higher rate of giving than Wisconsin as a state, but it still ranked in the bottom fourth of all the major metropolitan areas examined. Madison ranked even lower. The state capital was number 354 out of 366 cities.

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