Big land, open wallets

Wyoming 4th-most charitable U.S. state

By Crystal R. Albers

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GOSHEN COUNTY – Wyoming residents are No. 1 in the nation for percentage of donated income, and the state is fourth-most charitable overall, according to personal-finance website WalletHub.

The top three most generous states are Utah, Maryland and Minnesota.

“Our data set ranges from volunteer rate to share of income donated to share of sheltered homeless,” analysts explained.

Wyoming ranks above average across several of WalletHub’s 14 key indicators, including 22nd in volunteer rate; 17th for percent of population who donate time; 12th in percent of population who collect or distribute food; seventh in number of charities per capita; and sixth in volunteer hours per capita.

Analysts also found red and blue states are equally generous, ranking 25th on average overall.

Dr. Richard Waters, associate professor in the School of Management at the University San Francisco, weighed in on the percent of income he believes households should donate to charity – an area in which Wyomingites go above and beyond.

“I don’t think there’s a certain percentage that anyone should aim to give,” he said. “Giving is a personal decision that is based on personal financial situations, connections to community nonprofits, and concern for different causes. It’s perfectly acceptable to give to some nonprofits and not give to others that have very worthwhile programs and services. We can only give what we can afford to give. The important thing to remember is to give somewhere, and most do in the United States.”

Goshen County, alone, has hundreds of charitable and not-for-profit organizations, including Diversified Services, Inc., Gracie’s Promise, Torrington Rotary Club, the Goshen County Task Force on Family Violence and Sexual Assault, and Land of Goshen Ministries – to name a few.

And opportunities to give are on almost every corner. The Gracie’s Promise Festival of Trees this Friday and Saturday at the Platte Valley Bank Community Room and the Diversified Services, Inc. Sharing Tree at Points West Community Bank represent just two of the ways to lend a helping hand locally this holiday season.

“Giving is a part of who we are as a people,” Waters said. “Ever since colonists rallied together to survive the harsh winters and living conditions they faced, we have come together to help support each other and worthwhile causes.”

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