Giving in Memphis Almost Double the National Average, Study Finds

Households in the Memphis region donated an average of $4,154 to charity in 2007, compared to a national household average of $2,247, a new report from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds.

A follow-up to a study published in 2003 by the AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy (now the Giving USA Foundation), Giving Memphis 2008: The Report on Philanthropy in the Memphis Region for 2007 estimates total charitable giving from Memphis-area households, foundations, bequests, and corporations to charities anywhere in the United States. According to the report, from 2002 to 2007 total giving in the greater Memphis region rose nearly 14 percent (a decline of 1 percent adjusted for inflation), from $1.39 billion to $1.58 billion. And although average household giving in the region was higher than the national average, it did not keep pace with population increases or the 10 percent growth in personal income in the region.

Supported by a consortium of funders led by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, the report also found that an estimated 80 percent of all contributed dollars remained in the region, which was home to approximately 3,900 nonprofits in 2007. "The nonprofit sector plays an essential role in our area," said CFGM president Robert M. Fockler. "Charitable organizations seek to meet the spiritual, intellectual, physical, and material needs of people every day. Many of the needs would not be met without the generous support of nonprofit organizations by individuals, companies, and foundations."

"Study Finds Memphis Households Give Almost Double the National Average." Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University Press Release 12/15/2008.