The people on the north-west side of Chula Vista are more generous than their neighbors to the south and east. At least that’s the impression I came away with after skimming the Internet for about 30 minutes. And if it's published on the world wide web (and then repeated enough times) it must be true.
The generosity gauge is courtesy of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s study “How America Gives.” According to its website, The Chronicle provides useful information to executives in non-profit industries, offering CEOs and presidents statistics, feature stories and fundraising ideas to those whose job it is to untangle purse strings in the name of a good cause.
So, for example, if you’re the CEO of the South Bay Family YMCA you’d know that people who live in the 91910 zip code contributed 4.2 percent of their discretionary income to charitable causes. Those selfish cheapskates residing in the 91913? A measly 3.2 percent of their mad money goes to helping others. (No wonder it took the east side so long to get a library, no one wanted to pay for it! They don’t need a district representative —they need a pickpocket.)
Of course, an enterprsing non-profit honcho might venture out of the South Bay and troll around Rancho Santa Fe (92067) where 5.5 percent of their discretionary income isn’t spent on estates and transcontintental lunches but instead is gifted to kids with cleft pallets and animals with no place to live.
The study isn’t as thorough or inclusive as one might hope. The figures are based on information provided in 2008 tax returns. And it only gauges households that report a median income of $50,000 or higher and claim charitable contributions on their return. Those saps who make less than $50K a year and pass along a buck or two to the malodorous guy on the street without any desire for a tax break aren’t counted.
Looking further, money hunters will find that, in parts of Rancho Bernardo, residents of that upper-middle class enclave donate 3.2 percent of their income to charity.
In National City, where the median household income was just shy of $39,000, people give 3.5 percent.
Maybe it’s the heat that convinces people in El Cajon to part with 4.3 percent of their money, but then how do you explain why Bonita residents give away 4.2 percent of their money?
Charitable donations, regardless of their ulterior motives, ought to be lauded and, while it’d be nice to believe everyone gives ’til it hurts, it’s apparent that some people’s threshold for pain isn’t as high as others.