Hawaii’s generosity in top 10, study finds
With Thanksgiving around the corner, Hawaii has recently been named 10th in the nation for giving.
The following are the top states and District of Columbia according to their levels of charitable giving:
1) New York
2) Washington, D.C.
7) New Jersey
Source: Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College
Research at Boston College's Center on Wealth and Philanthropy listed Hawaii as a leader in charitable giving among the 50 states. New York topped the list, with North Dakota at the bottom.
The report, unlike other surveys on giving, includes giving habits of the entire state's population, not just of those with the highest level of income or personal wealth.
"There are many important characteristics that have an impact on the decisions individuals and families make about charitable giving," said Paul Schervish, one of the authors of the report. "Religious affiliation, the presence of nonprofit organizations to create giving opportunities, ethnic differences, even the nature of work residents of an area traditionally engage in can have an effect."
The report's release coincided with last week's National Philanthropy Day, celebrated nationwide and by the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals here in Hawaii. The association held a two-day conference that ended Friday.
The group is a professional association for people raising funds for nonprofit charitable groups. The local Aloha chapter has about 400 members.
Up to 600 fundraisers were expected to attend the conference at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel, which included an awards luncheon to recognize Hawaii residents and organizations for their impact on the community.
Those honored were local dentist Dr. Lawrence Tseu; H. Mitch D'Olier, president of the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation; S. Terry Wells, assistant vice president for development at the University of Hawaii's Shidler College of Business; Central Pacific Bank; and Fine Wine Imports.
Local studies on Hawaii's giving habits also indicate a generous community. A 2002 study from the Hawaii Community Foundation showed that 92 percent of households made donations to charities the prior year, with Kauai residents digging into their pockets the most.
The Boston College study showed Hawaii's total charitable contributions as about $688 million in 2004, with the mean contribution per household at $1,611.
Hawaii's placement as a leader in charitable giving came as no surprise to Travis Gray, an AFP member and chairman of the National Philanthropy Day conference.
"I think Hawaii has a long tradition of generous support for our local nonprofit communities," Gray said. "It's just a part of the island spirit and sense of community and place to support educational, religious and health and social services organizations."