People from Kent County who donate to charitable causes are more generous than individual donors in the rest of the state, according to a new estimated report from the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University. 

The 2013 data, the last year from which figures are available, is included in the new Kent County Charitable Giving Estimate Report. The report shows that while just 6 percent of Michigan households are in Kent County, individual donors in the county contributed 9 percent of Michigan's total estimated giving.

The report also shows that donors of all types in Kent County gave a total of $907,877,678 in 2013, a decrease of about $39 million, or 4.1 percent, from the total in 2012.

“There are many factors that can cause giving to go up or down in any community in any given year, causes that don’t necessarily mean individuals, foundations or corporations were any more or less generous that year. So these estimated numbers for 2013 are best interpreted as part of an overall gradual increase in Kent County giving over the past few years,” said Kyle Caldwell, executive director at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

Of the $907.88 million total, the majority (66.7 percent) came from individual donors, but foundations also gave a significant portion (23.1 percent). Foundations in Kent County contributed a much higher percentage of total giving than foundations nationwide (14.6 percent).

The percentage of total estimated charitable giving coming from foundations in Kent County is much greater than the percentage from foundations across the U.S. (23.1 percent vs. 14.6 percent) and the percentage coming from individuals is slightly lower in Kent County than in the U.S. overall (66.7 percent vs. 71.8 percent).

The figures in the report estimate giving by donors located in Kent County; the report does not analyze how much of that giving is distributed inside vs. outside Kent County.

The report shows total charitable giving in the county decreased slightly in 2013, compared to total giving in 2012.

From 2012 to 2013:

  • Individual giving decreased from $614.07 million to $605.79 million (-1.3 percent)
  • Foundation giving decreased from $244.78 million to $209.60 million (-14.3 percent)
  • Corporate giving increased from $51.05 million to $52.37 million (+2.6 percent)
  • Bequest giving increased from $37.35 million to $40.12 million (+7.4 percent)