Redwood City Residents Donated Over $118M

A new study from The Chronicle of Philanthropy takes an inside look at how much Redwood City residents give to charity. The numbers may surprise you!

Redwood City residents donated a total of $118.3 million in one year, or $2,331 per household, according to figures from the IRS.

A study from The Chronicle of Philanthropy revealed that residents made an annual household income of $63,656 in 2008 and donated 3.7 percent of this income to philanthropic organizations. 

Those making $50,000 to $99,999 donated 9.2 percent of their income, compared to those making $100,000 to $199,999 who donated 3.5 percent and those making $200,000 who donated 5.3 percent.

Regarding other charitable actions, Redwood City also has the .

Americans gave 4.7 percent of their income, compared to Californians who gave 4.4 percent.

Peninsula residents as a whole gave nearly $1 billion in 2008 alone, according to new statistics released by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Bay Area and the Los Angeles Area are unsurprisingly two major philanthropic hot-spots, leading California to take its place as the philanthropy capital of the country.  

In San Mateo County, residents gave a median charitable contribution of $2,291, meaning that half of residents gave more than that amount to philanthropic causes. In wealthier towns such as Portola Valley and Atherton, over half of residents gave more than $20,000.

While Bay Area communities perform well when it comes to total contributions, when it comes to giving away a large percentage of income, the numbers fall short.  

Out of 3115 counties surveyed, San Mateo ranks only #2473 in percentage of income donated to charity. That means that while residents give a great deal of money, they give relatively little as an overall percentage of their income.

So, though the Bay Area gives more money as a sum of total contributions, residents in Salt Lake City and Memphis, for example, give a far greater percentage of their income to charity, likely making greater sacrifices to do so.

Palo Alto residents give a higher percentage of their income than most other peninsula cities, with residents giving on average 6.3% of their discretionary income to charity. That compares with the 4% given by Santa Clara County residents and the 4.4% given by San Mateo County residents.  

The studies also rebuke the idea that Democrats are more generous than Republicans. While ‘blue states’ gave more money as a total sum, residents in Republican states gave a greater percentage of their income.

These numbers have given rise to a constantly recurring debate in the philanthropic world: whether people should be judged on their donations as a total contribution or as a percentage of the money they have.

On the one hand, giving more money total to charity can make a larger impact, yet on the other hand, people who give a higher percentage of their income are likely undertaking a greater sacrifice to do so. 

Among the study's major findings:

  • Rich people who live in wealthy, relatively homogeneous enclaves give a smaller share of their incomes to charity than rich people who live in diverse communities.
  • People who live in politically conservative, "red states" are more generous than those in liberal or "blue states" when religious giving is included.
  • Lower-income people give a far bigger share of their discretionary income to charities than wealthy people. People who make between $50,000 and $75,000 give an average of 7.6 percent of their discretionary income to charity, compared with an average of 4.2 percent for people who make $100,000 or more.
  • People who live in red states are more generous than those who live in blue states. The top eight most-generous states in regions of the country that are deeply religious are more generous than those that are not. Two of the top 10 states, Utah and Idaho, have high numbers of Mormon residents, who tithe more consistently than other churchgoers. The remaining states in the top 10 are all in the Bible Belt.


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