Hartford Region Ranks 49th Among 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas in Charitable Giving

The average percentage of income given to charity by residents of the Hartford metropolitan region ranked 49th among the top 50 largest metropolitan regions, according to a new survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  Only residents of the metropolitan Providence, Rhode Island region donated less. Greater Hartford residents, on average, donated 1.9 percent of their income to charity according to the analysis.  The average amount given, among those itemizing gifts, was $2,994.  The total in Itemized contributions among the region’s 1.2 million people was $600 million.

In Providence, $600 million was donated with an average gift of $2,748, or 1.8 percent of individual income.  The Providence region includes 1.6 million people.

Both cities are among the 60 of America's 100 largest metropolitan areas that give less than the national average of 3.1 percent.

The Chronicle used 2015 Internal Revenue Service data on individuals who earn $50,000 or more annually and who itemize charitable deductions on their income-tax returns to create a snapshot of giving in every county and metropolitan area in the country. Only donations of taxpayers who took a deduction are included, the publication noted. The key measure, according to the Chronicle, is the giving ratio: the total of a locality’s charitable contributions as a share of its total adjusted gross income.

The metropolitan regions with the largest average percentage of income to charity:  Memphis (5.6%), Salt Lake City (5.5%), Birmingham (5.4%), Atlanta (4.6%), San Jose (4.6%), Jacksonville (4.2%), Nashville (4.0%), and Oklahoma City (4.0%).

Five years previously, in 2012, Hartford ranked last among the 50 largest metropolitan regions.  The giving rate that year was also 1.9 percent, reflecting an 89.9 percent decline in giving rate since 2006.  Providence was 49th that year.

Overall in 2015, only 24 percent of taxpayers reported on their tax returns that they made a charitable gift according to the new analysis of Internal Revenue Service data. A decade earlier that figure routinely reached 30 or 31 percent, the Chronicle pointed out. Study authors suspect the numbers come from economic fears in the wake of the Great Recession, and a higher cost of living.

Charities Receive Record-Setting Contributions from Travelers Championship

Charitable organizations associated with the Travelers Championship, Connecticut's only PGA TOUR event, were well-served in 2013 - the event generated a record $1,253,000 for 180 charities throughout the region.

It is the largest annual amount the tournament has given since Travelers became title sponsor in 2007, helped in part by 2013 winner Ken Duke who made a personal donation of $25,000 during the tournament’s closing ceremonies following his playoff win in June. logo-Travelers-Championship-Golf

The Travelers Championship donates 100 percent of net proceeds to charity and offers a variety of fundraising programs that allow for community involvement. Duke, who won his first PGA TOUR event at the 2013 Travelers Championship, attended last week’s announcement at The Bushnell, where Travelers recognized his generosity by donating an additional $10,000 to the charity of his choice.

Hundreds of organizations have benefited from the charitable giving of the Travelers Championship, most notably The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Founded in 1988 by Paul Newman, the Camp is dedicated to providing "a different kind of healing" to children and their families coping with cancer, sickle cell anemia and other serious illnesses. Through summer sessions and family weekends at the Camp in Ashford, Conn., and year-round outreach to hospitals and clinics across the Northeast, the Camp serves more than 20,000 children and family members annually. All services are provided free of charge.

The 2013 Travelers Championship benefited 180 charities through hundreds of thousands of dotravelers charitiesllars raised in the Birdies for Charity pledge-based fundraiser and the Chip In for Charity ticket-sales fundraiser. Additionally, the Travelers Championship raised awareness and funds for local charities through a variety of special events like the Birdies for the Brave Golf Outing, BlumShapiro 5K for Charity, Premier Limo First Tee Classic, Military Appreciation presented by Saint Francis Care, Golf Digest Junior Pro-Am, Northstar Wealth Partners Celebrity Mini Golf Tournament, Women's Day presented by Travelers, Powerstation Events Concert Series, and the LEGO® Children's Charity Golf Tournament.

Since 2007, the tournament has generated more than $7 million for charity, bringing the total giving since 1952 to more than $31 million.  For the fifth consecutive year, CohnReznick was the presenting sponsor of Birdies for Charity, by supporting administration of the program and contributing to a bonus fund for the charities that raised the most money. New this year, the bonus bucks pool increased from $15,000 to $50,000 to be distributed among qualifying nonprofits.

 "We are thrilled to be giving more than $1 million to charity for the fifth consecutive year, which wouldn't have been possible without the sponsors, volunteers and fans who support our event," said Travelers Championship Tournament Director Nathan Grube. "This record donation is a testament to the support the community gives in making our tournament one of the top sporting events in the Northeast. As we look ahead to 2014, we encourage everyone to continue to show their support."

Preparation has already begun for the 2014 Travelers Championship, which will be held from June 16 to 22 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. More information is available at www.TravelersChampionship.com

Data Emerges on $20.4 Million Raised by Charities After Sandy Hook Shootings

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and State Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein have made public information collected from dozens of charities related to the shooting deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.  The data collected thus far indicates that 43 charities have collected nearly $20.4 million and have distributed nearly $2.9 million.

Among their charitable purposes, as reported by the organizations, are:  to provide direct financial support or other assistance to the 26 families who lost loved ones; to create scholarships and an endowment to support Newtown’s children and youth; to purchase memorial trees; pay for  construction of a physical memorial to those lost; and to recognize, support and inspire acts of kindness.

 The information was provided in response to a request for information by the Attorney General and Commissioner. The letter and short survey were sent March 28 to 69 charities either registered with the state Department of Consumer Protection, or publically identified as having accepted donations related to Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 children and six adults were killed on Dec. 14, 2012. The charities were asked to respond by April 12.

 “This request was an initial step to provide information to the public, Newtown community and other charitable organizations trying to meet the needs of those affected by this tragedy,” said Attorney General George Jepsen.

There were 22 organizations that have not responded to the letter of inquiry as of April 15, and Jepsen said his office will be following up with each of them. The collected information is available on the Attorney General’s and Consumer Protection websites as a service to the public, however, the postings should not be considered an endorsement of any charity by the agencies or by the Statsandy_hook_school_Sign_balloons_thg_121215_wge.

Commissioner Rubenstein said, “We see this as a good first step toward providing transparency to the activities of the various funds, and guiding future donors who may wish to make a contribution.”  Among those outlining their fundraising and spending are the United Way of Western Connecticut, Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, Newtown Pride and the University of Connecticut Foundation.

 The charities were asked about their organization, services and funds, including the dollar amount of any donations and pledges to date; and the purposes for which money was being collected.  “Our offices may reach out in the future to all the charities to determine how the donations were expended and the steps taken to prevent fraud or misuse of funds,” Rubenstein said.

 Links are available to view:

 Survey results     Survey Questions       List of charities

 In addition, the Attorney General and Commissioner also asked charities and members of the public to refer names of other organizations collecting donations for Sandy Hook-related purposes.

 The Attorney General’s Office website also notes that Connecticut law requires groups that “ask in our state for anything of value to benefit a charitable purpose or charitable organization to register, or claim an exemption from registration, with the Public Charities Unit” of the office.   Companies that are paid to solicit on behalf of charities, usually by telephone, are also required to register.  The website explains that “registration is mandatory and does not imply that the state endorses any particular organization or paid soliciting company.”

The Public Charities Unit receives annual financial reports for registered charities.  According to the website, “Information on how the charity spends its money may help you decide whether you wish to support the organization with your donations.   If you have been solicited by telephone, we will also tell you how much of your donation goes to the charity and how much will stay with the paid solicitor.”

Regardless of the charity’s location, if the group intends to ask in Connecticut for anything of value to benefit a charitable purpose or other charitable organization, it must register to solicit (or claim an exemption from registration) by filing a form with the Public Charities Unit.