Thanks for Suffolk’s generosity

Published 3:43 pm Monday, September 3, 2012

The generosity of Suffolk residents was perhaps no more apparent than during the aftermath of the April 2008 tornado.

Even though it’s been more than four years, the help that came in those hours and days following the twister still stand out as an example of how to do things right. After the storm ripped apart hundreds of homes and businesses, those who hadn’t been affected went into full gear, helping their neighbors pick up the pieces and clean up their property and donating money to a special recovery fund.

Now, a study has been released relying on data from that year to pinpoint Suffolk residents as among the most charitable in the region.


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The Chronicle of Philanthropy examined data from 2008 tax returns showing the value of charitable contributions claimed by American taxpayers that year, the most recent for which data was available. It also computed data on the cost of living and median incomes in certain areas to come up with the amount of discretionary income that residents donated to charity.

The study found that Suffolk residents give 5.8 percent of their disposable income to nonprofit organizations — far more than the rate of the state, 4.8, or the nation, 4.7.

Suffolk residents’ total contributions came to $48.7 million that year, which likely included some of the donations made to that special tornado recovery fund.

Charitable organizations interviewed for the story, including the Western Tidewater Free Clinic and the American Red Cross, were wholly unsurprised by the numbers. As organizations that daily rely on the generosity of local residents, they see every day how charitable giving makes a difference in our community.

We are proud of Suffolk for emerging as one of the most generous cities in this area, and indeed in the entire state. Through our coverage of local nonprofits, weather emergencies and everyday events, as well as our annual push for the Cheer Fund, we also get a front-row seat to the generosity and compassion of our neighbors, and we applaud you for it.