The Catalogue for Philanthropy has released its new Generosity Index, and according to the updated version (not posted at the moment), New Hampshire again ranks last. This is not a post griping about my home state's ranking--what my neighbors are doing for charity is of minimal interest to me as my family makes its giving decisions. But New England states have apparently looked for alternative measures that they claim are more fair. The Boston Foundation has released some reports to this effect.
We find the Associated Press on the case, dutifully reporting on what the principal actors have to say:
"We believe that generosity is a function of how much one gives to the ability one has to give," said Martin Cohn, a spokesman for the Catalogue for Philanthropy, a Boston-based nonprofit that publishes a directory of nonprofit organizations.That seems like a reasonable premise, but it doesn't necessarily follow that any function of those two characteristics is a good one. This seems to be the thrust of the Boston Foundation's critique:
"If everyone in Massachusetts gave 100 times as much to charity as we do today and everything else remains the same, we wouldn't get above the bottom half of the chart," said David Trueblood, a spokesman for the foundation. "And no matter what Mississippi did, it couldn't fall below 22nd or 23rd."This seems to be an accurate assessment, conditional on what other states are doing, at least based on my quick look at the index that is posted. But here's the fun part of the article:
Cohn said he was disappointed that the Boston Foundation chose to attack the index without understanding that its purpose is to promote discussion about philanthropy and that it never sought to hang a label on any state.And maybe that's a true statement of Cohn's intent, but I think it's a bit ridiculous to be disappointed in an interview for an article that wound up with the title, "New Hampshire Is Named Most Miserly State." A little self-awareness on the part of the AP would be a welcome addition, too.