How to become truly charitable

A new study on the generosity of Americans revealed that the most religious states in the U.S. are also the most generous; while the states with the least religious residents have, correspondingly, the lowest donation rates. According to the study, which was conducted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the five most generous states were Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. A Time.com article reports why Utah tops the list:

Four of Utah’s cities headed up the list of U.S. metropolitan areas when it comes to percentage of discretionary income given to charity. Households in Provo, Utah, give away the most as a percentage — 13.9% of discretionary income. For the state as a whole, 10.6% of Utah’s discretionary income goes to charity, well ahead of second-place Mississippi at 7.2%. The state’s giving nature largely comes from its sizable Mormon population, a faith that heavily emphasizes tithing of at least 10%.

Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College, pointed out that other states are generous as well, just in a different way. “People in less religious states are giving in a different way by being more willing to pay higher taxes so the government can equitably distribute superior benefits, and the distribution is based purely on need, rather than religious affiliation or other variables,” he said.

The word “charity” is now synonymous with the sharing of resources with the needy; but its original meaning is “caring” or gift of love. So how do you become a truly charitable individual?

When children learn about charitable actions at home, the act of giving becomes ingrained into their nature and can have a lasting effect. Since there are many ways to give, whether it’s through volunteering time or donating items to online auctions for charity from communities like eBay Giving Works, the important part is that you are giving in the first place.

(Info from How Religious Affiliation Affects Charitable Giving, Time, Aug. 21, 2012)

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