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US Bancorp (USB), General Electric Company (GE): The Six Most Generous States in America

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Tragedy has always inspired Americans to give their support to those in need. The devastating tornado that hit the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore earlier this month is just the latest example of how natural disasters and other catastrophic events draw in charitable support from people seeking to lend their aid, with tonight’s benefit concert and telethon to broadcast on NBC adding to the influx of donations that charities have already seen in the past week.

Although Americans across the nation are generous in their giving, it’s still interesting to see which states see the most charitable activity. One simple way of looking at generosity would be simply to look at total giving, as a study last year from The Chronicle of Philanthropy did in its analysis of 2008 IRS data. But another way to look at the question is to examine the percentage of tax returns filed in each state that claim a deduction for charitable giving, and the Tax Foundation looked at that question in its analysis of more-recent 2011 IRS data. Let’s take a look at the six states that had the highest percentages of tax returns claiming charitable deductions, also including information from The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s study about total and median contribution levels to see how they compare.

Coin images courtesy U.S. Mint.

6. Virginia
In Virginia, 32.5% of all tax returns included a charitable deduction. The state made total contributions of $4.2 billion, amounting to a median amount of $2,790 per taxpayer. One big loss for the state’s charitable community will come from the winding-down of the Freddie Mac Foundation, which expects to distribute all of its assets by the end of 2014 in connection with the conservatorship of Freddie Mac.

5. Minnesota
Among Minnesotans, 32.7% claimed a charitable deduction on their tax returns. With median contributions of $2,213 per taxpayer, Minnesota gave a total of $2.6 billion. Corporate giving in Minnesota is also a high priority, with foundations associated with 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) and US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) among many with annual giving amounts of $10 million or more. US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) recently started accepting donations at its ATMs for Oklahoma-directed efforts of the American Red Cross.

4. Utah
Utah boasted the fourth-highest percentage of returns, including a deduction for charitable giving at 33.1%. The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that Utah residents boasted the highest percentage of discretionary income devoted to charitable giving, at 10.6%. Median contributions of $5,255 per taxpayer amounted to total giving of $2.4 billion.

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