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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Howard County giving

       Last week the Baltimore Sun published an article that quoted a 2012 study published by the Chronicle of Philanthropy showing how Howard County ranked in its philanthropic giving.   As a county that is often recognized for being a great place to live with great schools, a nationally recognized library and a thriving economy we didn't come up as being very charitable.  According to the report:

"..... in 2012, Howard County rated 1,726 out of 3,115 counties in the nation for percentage of discretionary income donated to charities – only 4.3 percent. As a point of reference, Prince George's County rated sixth on the same list at 13.7 percent, despite having a median discretionary income of $31,895, which is less than half of Howard's median of $68,564."

".... the higher the median discretionary income within the county, the smaller the percentage people gave. For example, residents of North Laurel, who have a median discretionary income of $33,140, gave 10 percent to charity; while residents of Glenwood, who have a median discretionary income of $130,532, gave only 3.5 percent."

      This finding that the wealthier we become the less charitable we become has also been shown in a report by the Independent Sector.  This report also indicated that those attending a religious service weekly gave more than those who didn't.  This finding would seem to be the opposite of what you would expect.  The richer we become the more discretionary  income we have after meeting our basic needs.  Wouldn't this led us to becoming more charitable?  Apparently not.  Of course the large charitable contributions from wealthy individuals like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet give us the image of the very wealthy as being more charitable but apparently these individuals are the exception to the rule.
      With giving back in Howard County we have many ways to make charitable contributions.  We have a Community Foundation of Howard County, the United Way, Friends of the Howard County Library and the Women's Giving Circle just to mention a few.   So why aren't we more generous with our charitable giving?  Aren't we a progressive, engaged community?  Are we less sensitive to others needs as we become more financially secure?  Do we instill in our children the need to make charitable contributions to our community?  A couple of suggestions to increase our charitable contributions in a painless manner.  Most organizations have ways to have your contribution charged every month on your credit card in an automatic fashion.  Many employers provide their employees a payroll deduction method to contribute to United Way agencies.  How about setting up an automatic transfer from a checking account into a savings account every month that is used to make charitable contributions at the end of the year.  The options are there if you are willing.

NAMI Howard County, along with GRASSROOTS, has invited all of the candidates for Howard County’s Delegation to the General Assembly to share their plans on addressing mental health issues in the legislature.

Saturday, September 20th
Miller Branch Library
9421 Frederick Road
Ellicott City, MD

Call 410-772-9300 for more information


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