Way to Give, Macomb! Residents Donate Around $30 Million to Charity Annually

Macomb Township residents are among some of the top givers in the country, according to national study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Whether it's money to local synagogues or churches, food banks or animal shelters, metro Detroit residents are givers.

Those are among the findings of a six-month project released Monday by The Chronicle of Philanthropy researching "giving habits" of Americans. The research breaks down giving by zip code, town, county and state and is based on a year’s worth of IRS 1040 forms from households nationwide.

Researchers did a deep dive into various avenues of giving, including whether it was for religious or secular organizations and how much of one's household income was devoted to charity. For an apples-to-apples comparison, the data collected was on the percentage of post-tax income that was donated.

In the two zip codes that encompass Macomb Township, for instance, residents gave a total of between $12 million and $21.8 million in 2008, the year studied.

Area code 48044 gave the most and ranked 1,349th among the 28,725 zip codes listed across the country.

Those living in the 48042 area ranked 3,299th. In Macomb Township as a whole, residents give on average 3.3-3.4 percent of their income to charity.

“Generally speaking, Macomb County people are really generous,” said Shelly Penzien, president of the . “Even in tough economic times, they have reached out and continue to give so we are really happy. I know a lot of charities are struggling. Here in Macomb County, people are still generous at heart.”

Although MCF is based in Macomb Township, the nonprofit serves homeless school-age children and their families throughout the county. While the Christmas season always draws the most donations, Penzien said she has found the back-to-school season is just as important. 

“We get calls every day from those needing help with school clothing and school supplies,” Penzien said. “This back-to-school time is very critical, especially for homeless kids who have nothing but want to go back to school looking like their peers and feeling good about themselves.”

Like all charitable organizations, monetary donations are always appreciated, but MCF also takes gift cards to stores like Kohl's or Meijer and actual school supplies.

Giving as a region

Metro Detroit fell in the top 4 percent nationally, ranking 14th overall among the 366 metro areas, giving about $1.8 billion in 2008.

And at 22nd, Michigan overall was about in the middle of the pack when it comes to charitable giving, donating about 4.5 percent of income.

Across the country, Utah, Washington D.C.,  and Mississippi gave the most - 10.2 percent to 7.2 percent, respectively. The bottom three states were Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, ranging from 2.8 percent to 2.5 percent, respectively.

Among other findings:

  • Because of the current economy, charities are more strapped for cash than ever, which is fueling more charitable giving among neighbors.
  • Those who live in more conservative, or "red states", are more generous than those in more liberal, or "blue states".
  • Middle income people give more than the wealthy, especially if the wealthy live among the wealthy. In Macomb Township, those with incomes between $50,000 and $99,000 gave roughly 2 percent more than those with incomes of $200,000 or more.

Paul Piff, a social psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, told NPR that during his years of research he also has found that higher income people in diverse economic areas give more than those who live in wealthy areas.

"The more wealth you have, the more focused on your own self and your own needs you become, and the less attuned to the needs of other people you also become," he told NPR's Pam Fessler.

Jenny Whalen (Editor) August 22, 2012 at 11:40 AM
What charities do you support, either locally or nationally?
Meagan Vanover August 22, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Big Family of Michigan: an incredible organization that helps Macomb County foster children. Currently, they're collecting school supplies for about 1,000 more local kids. https://www.facebook.com/BigFamilyofMichigan
Cheryl Borowski August 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM
We support Macomb Charitable Foundation. They help so many kids directly!
Tracie Gillespie August 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Macomb Charitable Foundation makes such a difference in the life of children that supporting has been a privilege. Tracie Gillespie
Dianne Wetzel August 24, 2012 at 12:38 PM
MCF is a charity with a huge heart for children. One hundred percent of the money collected is used to help these children with basic needs. We gladly support MCF with a used book sale coming up Oct. 24-28 at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Macomb. Bill and Dianne Wetzel
Sue Schwark August 24, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I have personnally witnessed the assistance given to hundreds of families thru MCF. How can one not be supportive of an orgainization that assists a child with an aching tooth, glasses to see, a bed and pillow to sleep on, a PLACE to sleep, and food to eat. One of the most amazing attributes of MCF is that it is run fully by volunteer help. Realize that this allows for all donations to go to those in need. God's blessig to MCF and all they do for those not as fortunate as my family!!
Kris Aubry August 25, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Macomb Charitable Foundation is a most worth while program to support. Yearly they provide needy children with assistance. From clothing, bus transportation, gas cards, food, housing, to christmas with the CHRISTmas is for kids program. All this is done strickly by volunteers and 100% goes to the children.If you'd like to support MCF you can do so by signing up with your Kroger Plus card. Simply go to Kroger Rewards.com and sign up. This one simple gesture can change the life of a child. Kris Aubry


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something