Giving, the ultimate stimulus package

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The Vermont Community Foundation released the study “Giving in Vermont: A Case for Growing Philanthropy” last week, which analyzes Vermonters’ contributions to charitable organizations against giving in other states. The Green Mountain State got a D- in the fiscal generosity department: It ranked 48th nationally in 2005. We got a solid grade A though on the volunteerism front. Overall average: C-plus. For a state that’s so used to scoring high marks in other arenas, such as health care and education, our tightwad reputation is an unusual streak of mediocrity.

-Anne Galloway

The 63-page report and an executive summary are posted here.

Giving in Vermont, full report

Giving in Vermont, executive summary

Stuart Comstock-Gay, the president and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation, will present the study at the Common Good Vermont annual meeting for nonprofits on Jan. 11 at CCTV in Burlington.

The following is a fact sheet derived from the report.

National research into the value of grantmaking shows that every $1 contributed to a nonprofit organization generates an average of $8.58 in total economic return.

Across the country, $43 billion in grants by private and community foundations is estimated to have indirectly generated $512 billion in household income and created 9.2 million jobs in 2007.

Vermont ranks 9th in the United States for volunteerism, with approximately 35.6% of residents giving their time to support charitable organizations.

Vermonters volunteer an average of 20.6 million hours of service each year, accounting for an estimated $416.2 million in value.

In 2007, Vermont’s average charitable contribution per itemized return was 25% less than the national average ($3,445 vs. $4,623).

Even after adjusting for income, Vermont’s average contribution places it in the bottom 10 states in the nation.

In the United States, a “philanthropic divide” exists between those states with the most resources and those with the least. In a ranking of states based on foundation assets within each state and per capita grantmaking by in-state foundations, Vermont places 48th.

The top 10 states held $368 billion (nearly 67%) of the nation’s total charitable assets, while the bottom 10 states held $7.66 billion (1.4%).

Like Vermont, nearly every state with the least resources is rural.

The “divide” held true even when population was taken into account. While the national average of per capita grant making was $117, Vermont’s grantmaking was $35.

Full disclosure: was a recipient of a $6,000 Vermont Community Foundation grant this fall.

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