Harvey County residents care.
"We always say we have an incredibly generous community filled with people who truly care. It is nice to have the numbers to prove it," said Tina Payne, director of Harvey County United Way.
Payne has been working for Harvey County United Way for several years, representing an organization with one of the largest annual fundraising goals in the county. And, she says, she has been repeatedly amazed by Harvey County donors.
The statistics she was handed this week bear that out. A website called smartadvisormatch.com created charitble giving indexes for counties nationwide, and in the state of Kansas, Harvey County ranks seventh out of the 105 counties in Kansas.
"It is a long-standing tradition, it really is," Payne said. "We see, at United Way, tremendous generosity across the age spectrums. ... In this community, there is a generalized expectation that we are also in this together."
To find the most generous places, smartadvisormatch.com looked at two factors: how much people donate as a percentage of their net income, and the proportion of people in a given county who made charitable donations.
Harvey County ended up with an index of 42.7 for contributors, and an index of 29.4 for donations. The county's overall score was 44.5, seventh in the state.
"The people of Harvey County are very generous," said Wendy Basye, director of the Harvey County Salvation Army. "We have had low numbers, but we have also had some high buckets. ... Anytime there is a need they are quick to respond and to help out."
Harvey County appears in a cluster of counties in the top 10 — Butler County (44.9 overall) ranked sixth, McPherson County (46.2 overall) ranked fifth and Sedgwick County (48.6 overall) ranked third.
Using data from the IRS, to determine the amount of money that people donate as a percentage of their income, smartadvisormatch.com first calculated the net income of all people in each county. To do this, we looked at tax return data and accounted for federal, state and local taxes paid. Smartadvisormatch.com also accounted for deductible entries, including mortgage interest, mortgage points, and mortgage insurance payments. We then divided each county's total charitable donations by its total net income to see how much county residents are donating relative to their income.
Next, smartadvisormatch.com took the total number of tax returns with charitable contributions and divided them by the number of total tax returns for each county. This gave researchers the proportion of people in each county who make charitable donations.
The two indexes were equally weighted to create the most charitable places index.
Top 10 counties were Johnson, Haskell, Sedgwick, Miami, McPherson, Butler, Harvey, Douglas, Riley and Leavenworth.