It surrounds us daily, fills tiny crevices on our pages with reports of ongoing activities and upon occasion larger spaces — often when a major funding need, whether new or sustaining, is urgently requested.
And it reflects one of the highest levels of charitable giving/caring in the United States. Indeed, Floyd County ranks No. 420 out of the nation’s 3,115 counties according to perhaps the most detailed study/analysis of itemized IRS deductions ever attempted that was done last year.
But first, let’s allow Greater Romans to speak for themselves, sort of. Here are mentions of some of the doing of good deeds that popped up on this newspaper’s pages in the past week or so.
THE YMCA of Rome-Floyd collecting and donating hundreds of warm coats just as the warm, humid rainy days turned into snow forecasts.
Volunteers out clearing/blazing a new piece of the Georgia Pinhoti Trail south of Cave Spring on land recently acquired by The Conservation Fund.
Sara Hightower Regional Library being given a check for $16,444.99 by the Friends of the Library — the proceeds of the volunteer group’s many year-long efforts.
The Free Clinic of Rome, which saw more than 600 patients in over 4,000 visits in 2012, moving to a newer, more modern and cost-effective location at 101B John Maddox Drive.
The Salvation Army reporting that Greater Rome Red Kettle donations increased by more than 20 percent this past holiday season.
AND THE TWO reports that are perhaps most cheering because they involve additions/expansions to what this community already makes available by way of its outstretched helping hand:
Habitat for Humanity dedicating/giving its first home in West Rome in a new remodel campaign being added to its building-from-the-ground-up efforts ... and involving a donated, foreclosed house.
The Open Door Children’s Home (with 85 years of service to abused/neglected children in the region already) opening a new program in two remodeled homes to provide living/support services to five young men and three young women who have “aged out” of the system but are going to college and, lacking families, need help in gaining the skills to make it in the world on their own. Not hard to guess that there is probably a need in Northwest Georgia for a hundred more places just like those two.
All this as said in that story, but easily inserted into all mentioned, made possible “through the generous support of the community and many individual and corporate benefactors.”
AND A VERY generous place this is, and long has been, although even this level of giving does not meet the known needs — as also has been reported. More and more demand due to economic reversals has created growing pressures of more and more calls for giving often made less available due to the same economic reversals. Can Greater Romans care even more about others as they have to worry more about themselves?
Frankly the database analysis done by The Chronicle of Philanthropy tells a fairly amazing and quite positive story about this community although, like all data, must be consumed with care. For example, the numbers are only drawn from IRS returns that have itemized deductions. Clearly, whatever is given by those taking standardized deductions simply cannot show up.
Also, this includes religious giving that is deducted and would include tithing. While much by way of good deeds are done by churches, hospitals operated by faith groups and so forth not all necessarily goes to directly aid others as those funds also deal with sustaining facilities and so forth. There are other look-out-fors involved that the study warns about but it is nonetheless a remarkable bit of perspective.
A GOOD SEARCH engine/internet access point to all the information can be found at philanthropy.com (visit this editorial online at RN‑T.com for a link). That allows readers to look at all sorts of local giving information, even by such as ZIP code and income level.
The overall study may hold some surprises, by the way. For example, by percentage, the richest folks give the least. The residents of the so-called conservative “red states” give way more than those in so-called liberal “blue states.”
As for Georgia, it ranks sixth in charitable giving out of the 50 states plus District of Columbia with $4.8 billion donated a year.
As for Floyd County, No. 420 out of 3,115 counties, its residents gave $55 million. That is 7.3 percent of their income with the median sum put at $3,999 which beat both Georgia’s 6.2 percent ($3,396) and the entire nation’s 4.7 percent average ($2,564). By the way, that is after taxes, living expenses and similar are deducted.
Those numbers alone help explain why, as often noted in this space, Greater Rome appears to have and sustain a remarkable number of charitable (and cultural) nonprofits and has for many decades.
IT IS PLAIN that Greater Romans have been doing especially well in helping to meet needs that the vaunted governmental “social safety net” fails to address, or deals with in an incomplete fashion.
You’ve been doing good, folks and deserve a great deal of credit for having the charitable instincts that have made this into a truly special community.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we couldn’t do better still. And probably should, given how much depends upon “the generous support of the community and many individual and corporate benefactors.”