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Old 06-19-2006, 08:33 PM   #31
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


Perhaps we are fed a stereotype that churches gather money to build enormous buildings. There are a handful in the country, but it is a minute fraction of the total number of congregations.

Perhaps people should work on a church budget (or at least have seen one) before they automatically discount giving to churches as not counting in the realm of charity.
Amen.
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:44 PM   #32
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I think you'd find something similar here in Australia, except you wouldn't be able to draw it along such clear cut political or religious lines. It's not political, nor religious, but simply about the differences in communities. Here if you took a rural town, (eg population 25,000), and weighed it up against Sydney (population 5,000,000) and did a per head of population comparison, I'd bet the town would be well ahead.

Similarly, if you are doing such per head of population comparisons, I'd bet that if you went in further detail into either a US 'red' state, or US 'blue' state, and did a list just within that state, the major capital city of that state would rank lowly behind many many smaller communities and towns.
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:26 PM   #33
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Originally posted by Earnie Shavers
Similarly, if you are doing such per head of population comparisons, I'd bet that if you went in further detail into either a US 'red' state, or US 'blue' state, and did a list just within that state, the major capital city of that state would rank lowly behind many many smaller communities and towns.


good point.

what percentage of NYC's actual residents do you suppose could afford to give away a significant portion of their incomes?

while there might be a million or two people who could, there are 8 million in NYC alone.
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:57 PM   #34
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while there might be a million or two people who could, there are 8 million in NYC alone.
And that would be thrown out of whack again by the odd philanthropic billionaire who drops $1million in one hit, and the perhaps million or more living in that city who are the recipients of charity, not the givers.

And again it's all about the community you live in. I'm willing to bet that the amount (per head) of New Yorkers who have regular deductions coming out of their bank accounts to the large multinational charities (Oxfam, Red Cross etc) is far far higher than Small Town, Rural State, but that they haven't been involved in a genuine localised community fundraising/charity anything since moving there. Meanwhile the resident of Small Town, Rural State is pretty much perpetually involved in such things, driven by local groups, churches, schools, even the local media but maybe isn't even all that aware of the mass media driven Oxfam type campaigns.

We're talking about money here, but it's more about community support. The difference between the individual and the community that naturally occurs in big city vs small town. Forget money, and just think about community support. If you live in New York and your whole family dies in a car accident vs if you live in a small town and your whole family dies in a car accident. It's not like New York is going to rally around you.

The money given to charity stats here really just show the difference in the quality and strength of 'community' in centres of different population size, and are not any moral judgement tied to how you vote. Like I said, it would be the same here in Australia and we do not have such rigid political lines dividing up our country. The red/blue division in the US is quite stunning in it's pinpointed geographical division.
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Old 06-19-2006, 10:36 PM   #35
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Along the lines of what Earnie was saying...

This is an older article, but the Generosity Index's findings are pretty much the same from one year to the next.
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Scrooged: Are New Englanders as cheap as the Generosity Index makes us out to be?

By Matt Kelly
The Boston Globe
December 19, 2004


Massachusetts has a tough reputation to live down with the rest of the nation: loony-left liberals, lousy drivers, failed presidential candidates. To top it all off, everyone thinks we're cheap bastards, too.

Blame the Generosity Index. Published every November since 1997 by the Catalogue for Philanthropy, a Boston-based group that promotes charitable giving, this index ranks states by average income and then by average donations to charity; the difference between those two numbers is a state's "generosity gap." When you rank states yet again based on that gap, Massachusetts inevitably places dead last or near to it, along with most of New England.

This is not news Massachusetts likes to hear. Nevertheless, the media dutifully reports our supposedly stingy behavior every year. Conservative media take particular glee noting that wealthy, liberal states crowd the bottom of the index, while poor states rank as the most generous and uniformly vote Republican. A thought-provoking pattern, yes -- but it isn't necessarily true.

Measuring generosity is a tricky business. At its core, you're trying to measure how much a person donates to charity as a portion of what he is able to give. Academic researchers and nonprofits across the country have struggled to devise useful ways of analyzing charitable giving for years, often with conflicting results. Meanwhile, the rest of us struggle with cultural stereotypes -- do Southerners give more because their church tells them to? does Yankee frugality mean turning a cold shoulder to the needy? -- and oceans of contradictory data to figure out how generous, or cheap, we really are.

"Philanthropy has always been a hot-button topic because it deals with both wealth and need," says Paul Schervish, director of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College. "Who has legitimate wealth and who doesn't? Who has legitimate need and who doesn't?" And, he might have added, how much can people really afford to give away?

The Generosity Index ignores those questions. It only sifts through IRS tax data to compare states' average adjusted gross income and average itemized charitable deductions. For example, in 2002 Massachusetts had the third-highest average income ($56,764) but only the 39th-highest charitable deduction ($2,928). Subtract 39 from 3 and you get -36 as our "generosity gap," which leaves us 49th on the Generosity Index.

Mississippi taxpayers, meanwhile, rank 50th in average income (with only $33,754), and have the fifth-largest deduction for charitable giving ($4,484). Subtract 5 from 50 and you get a generosity gap of 45, the highest number in the country -- and so Mississippi is ranked as the most generous state in the nation. [The Catalogue for Philanthropy averages the income from all tax returns, but averages charitable donations only from those returns which itemize them, then extrapolates to all those that don't. Obviously, in some states this is going to result in far more sweeping generalizations than others--e.g., only 21% of Mississippi's returns itemize donations, against 31% nationally. The 15 "most generous" states (per the Index) average 23% itemized, while the 15 "least generous" average 35%. So, essentially, the fewer the people who donate enough to bother itemizing to begin with, the more generous their state appears, because their average itemized claim then gets extrapolated to that many more people.--yolland]

One flaw in studying itemized charitable deductions: An estimated 70 percent of taxpayers don't itemize, so what most of the population gives to charity is unknown. But the Generosity Index's logic is so flawed that the index is almost meaningless anyway. For example, Massachusetts could rank first both in average income and average charitable deduction with, say, $100,000 in each. But subtracting 1 from 1 leaves you a generosity gap of zero; we would still trail Mississippi, despite giving all our money away.

The Generosity Index also fails to account for differences in living costs. Some researchers suggest that higher wages in Massachusetts compared with the US average make up for the higher cost of living here. But others say cost of living is not just a question of what people "need" to spend but what they do in fact spend on various items -- a reflection of both raw economics and of culture and community values.

"If you use, say, average cost of housing in an area, rather than the cost of housing to an individual, you end up with entirely different numbers," explains BC's Schervish, who is trying to account for cost of living in a study of charitable giving he plans to release early next year.

Taking living expenses into account "certainly. . . would lead you to a different result than if you look at just income," says Patrick Rooney, an economics professor at Indiana University. "These things all matter."

Rooney, director of research at Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy, created another measure, to compare actual giving in each state to its predicted level of giving. In a paper published earlier this year he identified a flock of demographic factors that affect how much households in various states donate to charity.

For example, a higher percentage of black residents correlates with higher levels of itemized charitable deductions; a higher percentage of Catholics drags that average down. Income, median age, and percentage of people who itemize deductions all tug on that average contribution to charity, too. (State and local tax burden, the level of income inequality, percentage of Protestants, and level of population with a bachelor's degree or above, however, were found to have no effect.)

Rooney starts with the national average deduction for charity: $3,525. (His study uses average data from 1999-2001.) Then he adjusts for all those demographic criteria (for example, Massachusetts has a smaller black population than the national average, but a higher percentage of people who itemize deductions) to estimate each state's expected charitable giving, relative to that national average.

When Rooney accounts for all those factors, he produces a very different picture than the Generosity Index's persistent trend of wealthy northeastern states at the bottom and poor southern states at the top. Using the same data from 1999-2001, he pegs Massachusetts households' "estimated giving" at $3,360. Actually, our average charitable deduction during that period is $3,269 -- only three percent less than what we would be expected to give, considering our demographics.

Rank the states by that percentage, and sparsely populated Wyoming places first; residents there give 67 percent more dollars to charity than expected, albeit largely due to a few billionaires who skew the average for everyone. Massachusetts places 31st and Mississippi 39th. (Mississippians did give substantially more than Massachusetts: $4,366. But that is six percent less than they're expected to in Rooney's models.) The red state/blue state pattern vanishes as well: The top 10 states on Rooney's index split evenly along red and blue lines, as do the 10 states at the bottom.

Rooney believes the factors he has identified account for 80 percent of the variations between average income and average itemized charitable deduction from state to state. Further research into living expenses and regional variations in social values might explain the rest.

When it comes to measuring generosity, Schervish says, "You have to figure out what story you're telling. Right now with the Generosity Index, the only explanation we have is quality of soul."

To be fair, one of the first people to admit the shortcomings of the Generosity Index is the creator of the index himself: George McCully, president of the Catalog for Philanthropy. He insists he only wanted to create a tool that drew attention to patterns of charitable donations and, ideally, prodded people to give more.

McCully calls his Generosity Index "crude but telling." He's right about the crude part, although the "telling" remains to be seen. With data so slippery and definitions of "generosity" so elusive, it's hard to say how stingy, cheap, or average Massachusetts truly is.

As to our reputation for bad driving. . . well, we might be stuck with that.
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Old 06-19-2006, 11:33 PM   #36
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Som of are churchez helps the poor people and stuff and som of us Sutherners also helps but most of us are dum ignerunt rednex so none of it counts, specially since y'all suspicioned "if the 'dumb' list was a hoax then thems DiamondBruno9's figures is hoaxy too."

We don' hav elactrik here butt I git the inturnet from my jackass, I put a modum betwixt his earrs an hookd it up to my ol' radio/tv/lantern combo so I kin keep up with y'all. Plees till me how too vote sense we'ir to dum here in Alabama and so forth...

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Old 06-19-2006, 11:34 PM   #37
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i will never vote for salome.
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Old 06-19-2006, 11:36 PM   #38
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Did you ever get elected moderator, Cow of the Seas?

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Old 06-20-2006, 01:02 AM   #39
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no... and i DON'T know why???

how've you been?
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:44 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Perhaps we are fed a stereotype that churches gather money to build enormous buildings. There are a handful in the country, but it is a minute fraction of the total number of congregations.
I agree but it's a difficult balance between looking at humongous churches as a necessity of supply vs demand as opposed to being a business opportunity.

Here is a link about megachurches (2,000+ cong.)
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/org/megastoday2005_profile.html
I had no idea there were that many, to be honest.

At the end of the day, you probably need to know the people running things before you prejudge them. I haven't always done so and I'm trying to be better about it. I did have my opinion changed about one particular pastor/church a few years back, all on the word of a man who knew him personally and vouched for him. In fact, it might be the last church I attended several years ago. It's congregation is probably a few thousand.
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:11 AM   #41
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Considering the total number of people who attend worship services, the number of "megachurches" stuck me as quite low.

Knowing a number of churches that fall in this category (I think my own church qualifies as well), the size relates really relates to one thing - a dynamic pastor. Huge drops in attendance can occur when a senior pastor steps down. It will be interesting to see if "megachurches" can last more than two generations.

Most large congregations are not grown on business models, with the notable exception of Willow Creek. Even then, the business model was not based on income potential, but on the simplifying of content and creating a follow-up cycle (essentially repackaged content and good customer service) to maximize total number of customers.
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:30 AM   #42
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Originally posted by diamond
sometimes the truth makes some of us uncomfortable.
The truth or truthiness?
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Old 06-20-2006, 12:18 PM   #43
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sour grapes
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:52 PM   #44
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OK
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Old 06-20-2006, 06:09 PM   #45
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It's a hoax. Michelle Malkin doesn't say a damn thing about her source. There isn't one.
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