In a recent study conducted by SmartAsset, the City of Falls Church ranked the highest in the Commonwealth and fifth nationally on an index of charitable giving.
According to the report, 2.3 percent of incomes were reported to the IRS as charitable giving with 27 percent of individuals contributing.
Steve Sabato, Senior Public Relations Manager for SmartAsset, provided the News-Press with further details on how the study was conducted.
“To determine the amount of money that people donate as a percentage of their income, we first calculated the net income for everyone in each county,” he explained. “To do this, we looked at tax return data and accounted for federal, state and local taxes paid. We also accounted for deductible entries, including mortgage interest, mortgage points and mortgage insurance payments. We then divided each county’s total charitable donations by its total net income to see the amount of money residents in each county have donated relative to their income. Next, we measured the total number of individual tax returns that show charitable contributions and divided that by the total number of individual tax returns in each county. This gave us the proportion of people in each county who make charitable donations. According to our study, Falls Church ranked number 1 in Virginia and number 5 out of all U.S. counties and independent cities on the Charitable County Index.”
“Creative Cauldron has been blessed to make its artistic home in the Little City with the ‘big heart.’ The funding that we receive from generous Falls Church City donors allows us to fulfill our mission of making the arts accessible and affordable to as wide a range of our community as possible,” said Laura Connors Hull, Founder and Producing Director of Creative Cauldron.
Creative Cauldron works to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all, which includes keeping ticket prices and camps as affordable as possible, as well as offering scholarships for camps and complimentary tickets thanks to generous donations made by patrons.
While the study did not look at where these donations were made specifically, there are a large number of local nonprofits in Falls Church City and the surrounding areas that many locals donate to.
“As a 501c3 nonprofit animal rescue organization, Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation depends solely upon the generosity of our donors,” said Dawn Wallace, Executive Director of LDCRF. “We are in the business of saving lives, and in order for LDCRF to continue saving the lives of orphaned dogs and cats, we must have the financial means to support all that comes along with rescuing a pet—intake transportation costs, medical needs, food, enrichment, and the list goes on. Be it monetary or in-kind donations, each and every donation makes an impact on our ability to rescue more shelter animals, who without our help, may otherwise face the threat of euthanasia.”
More details on LDCRF and ways to donate can be found online at lostdogrescue.org.
Factors such as age, occupation and family size were not looked at in this particular study. According to Sabato, SmartAsset “strictly looked at the amount of money being donated in each county relative to the amount of income in each county, and the amount of people donating money as a percentage of the population, in addition to the median tax paid in each county.”
Dr. Donney John, Executive Director of NOVA ScriptsCentral, another local nonprofit noted that “Nonprofits in our area all have noble missions focused on helping those around us in need. They have dedicated staff and volunteers who work diligently to carry out the mission of the organizations. The support from donors allow them to focus on their work and continue to help more of those in need.”
By looking at IRS Statistics of Income data, which tracks how much money people have deducted from their tax returns for charitable contributions, SmartAsset was able to determine the amount of charitable giving made in different localities throughout the country.
“Donations to small, volunteer-led nonprofit organizations such as NVMHF help us make an incredible difference in the lives of others,” said Cindy Koshatka, President of the Northern Virginia Mental Health Foundation. “93 percent of the donations we receive directly support our funding for housing, dental, medical, and other needs of individuals living with mental health conditions as they move forward on their path to recovery, right here in our community.”
Nonprofit organizations can benefit our community in a wide variety of ways, from finding forever homes for animals to providing healthcare to those who need it and much more.
“There are many fantastic local non-profits who benefit from the generosity of our community and we are all grateful for the support,” said Debbie Hiscott, the Executive Director of the Falls Church Education Foundation, noting how fourtane she feels to be a part of the community in the Little City. “We have seen this demonstrated in so many ways, especially during the past two years. We’ve had record numbers of our school supporters, both businesses, individuals and other charities donating, sponsoring and showing up for our events, whether virtual or in person. We raised $120,000 plus for the FCEF Family Assistance Fund, which our social work team uses to fund the emergency needs of our students and their families. This assistance was critical for many during the pandemic. The support allowed us to continue innovative grants, advanced staff training, ESOL and special education programs, a new ‘Wellness Fund’, and staff recognition awards. We are proud of our community for supporting so many!”
For more information, as well as the full details of SmartAsset’s study, methodology and an interactive map can be found online at https://smartasset.com/retirement/financial-advisor#virginia/mostGenerousPlaces-2.
Sabato concluded by saying “We hope our studies get people thinking and talking about big personal finance decisions. This study helps provide people with a local perspective on the amount of tax-deductible, charitable donations being made in their county, and can help contextualize how their own charitable donations may impact their taxes.”