Memphis nearly doubles U.S. giving average

Households in the Memphis area donated an average of $4,154 to charity in 2007, compared with a national average of $2,247, says a study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Total giving rose to $1.58 billion from $1.39 billion between 2002 and 2007, a 1 percent drop after adjusting for inflation, says “Giving Memphis 2008: The Report on Philanthropy in the Memphis Region for 2007.”

However, giving in Memphis did not keep up with population and income growth in the area, the study says.

About 80 percent of dollars donated in 2007 stayed in the Memphis region, a slight jump from 79 percent in 2002.

Memphis households gave the largest share of their charitable dollars, 48 percent, to religious organizations, compared with the 33 percent that went to religious causes nationally.

After religion, the largest shares of charitable dollars went toward human-service charities, which received 14 percent, and public-society benefit charities such as United Way, with 10 percent.

The complete report will be available this month.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University aims to promote philanthropy and improve its practice through research and training programs.

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