Something to feel good about

Although some countries think Americans are only concerned with profit and material possessions, that isn’t true. Not according to data from recent reports by Chronicle of 6-25 Page 4A.inddPhilanthropy, which ranks giving by state and The World Giving Index (WGI), which ranks 103 countries worldwide based on charitable contributions of money, time and willingness to help other.

America tied for first place with the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Canada, Ireland and New Zealand were ranked second, third and fourth, respectively.

Surprisingly, at least to me, is that the Chronicle of Philanthropy report found the wealthiest Americans are giving less, while donations from poor and middle-income Americans have increased.

All but one of the top 10 philanthropy-minded states are located in the South. That exception is Utah, which came in first with an average 6.6 percent giving rate.

The stingiest state in the nation is New Hampshire, with a giving rate of 1.7 percent.

Below are the top 10:

1. Utah: 6.6 percent giving rate

2. Mississippi: 5.0 percent

3. Alabama: 4.8 percent

4. Tennessee: 4.5 percent

5. Georgia: 4.2 percent

6. South Carolina: 4.1 percent

7. Idaho: 4.0 percent

8. Oklahoma: 3.9 percent

9. Arkansas: 3.9 percent

10. North Carolina: 3.6 percent

The report found although wealthy Americans are still donating, their contributions have dropped 4.6 percent from last year, and their gifts are focused more on arts and education than the donations from the less financially fortunate.

It’s gratifying to know the citizens of our own state have done us proud. Ranking sixth in the nation in giving is one piece of data we don’t have to be ashamed of.

We hear and read much about our state that is negative. This is based on the premise that people aren’t interested in good news, but only that which shocks and saddens.

But that’s not really true. There are many kind and caring people in our own community who really want to make things better for others.

These are the people who are willing to inconvenience themselves a little to be a part of efforts to ease the suffering of others.

These are our friends and neighbors, as well as others we do not know. So thank you to those in our community willing to give time, money and goods to the many worthy non-profit organizations which reach out to those who need help.

Without people like these, there would be no United Way, United Christian Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Prevent Child Abuse Pickens County, Family Promise, Samaritans Purse, MARY’s House and others too numerous to list here.

So remember this when you’re faced with headlines about murder, war and those who make life harder for others. They are the minority. What the world needs now is love, and it is alive and well in Pickens County.