Morristown Area Philanthropy Below Average

Morristown, Morris Township, Morris Plains give millions in charitable donations according to study, but fall below the national 4.2 percent of discretionary income average.

A study released Monday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy on "How America Gives" ranked the Morristown area below the national average, but is on par with the stingy northeast.

In states like Utah and Mississippi, the typical household gives 7 percent or more of their income to charity after taxes, housing, food and other living expenses, while the average resident in Massachusetts and three other New England states gives less than 3 percent, on average, the report says. The national average is 4.2 percent.

In the Morristown area, Morristown and Morris Township (combined in the survey based on ZIP Code) give more than Morris Plains, which records a lower "median discretionary income" than its 07960 neighbors. Of 28,725 ZIP Code designated towns in the study, Morristown/Morris Township's $52.7 million, or 3.9 percent of income given in charitable contributions ranked 191. Morris Plains' $13.8 million, 3.3 percent of income given ranked 2,772.

Countywide, Morris just missed the national average, ranked 71 out of 3,115 at $374.8 million, or 4 percent average income. New Jersey was ranked 8 out of 51 designated study areas, giving $4.5 billion, or 3.7 percent of average income.

All three towns, however, fall within the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan area, which ranked first out of 366. This metro area gave $12.9 billion, or 4.6 percent of average income.

Median Discretionary Income Median Contribution % Income Given Town Total Morristown/Morris Township
$92,129 $3,592 3.9 $52.7M Morris Plains $70,041 $2,277 3.3 $13.8M

The study uses data from 2008, the most recent available, and provides detail down to the ZIP Code level about the relative generosity of states, cities and towns based on the share of discretionary income they give after.

A religious effect to charitable giving also was studied.

Many cities and states in the Northeast, the least-religious region of the country, make up the bottom of 3 percent or less of their discretionary income to charity, according to the report. But according to the chart released with the report, when religion is factored out of the giving picture, the northeast rises to the top.


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