Story County rated one of the most generous in Iowa

Herald Staff
This chart offers comparison data on the Iowa’s top 10 most giving counties in 2016: Sioux, Dallas, Warren, Story, Marion, Polk, Dickinson, Johnson, Bremer and Linn. Graphic courtesy of SmartAsset

Story County has been ranked the fourth-most giving among Iowa’s 99 counties, based on a 2016 charitable giving study recently released.

The study by SmartAsset, a New York-based personal finance company, took into account charitable contributions as a percentage of net income, and the percentage of taxpayers who gave any amount back in any given county.

Story County’s fourth-place ranking follows Sioux, Dallas and Warren counties.

Counties were rated on a “Most Charitable Counties” index, which equally weighted two factors: how much people donated as a percentage of their net income and the proportion of people in a given county who made charitable donations.

SmartAsset used data from the Internal Revenue Service for this index.

To determine the amount people donated as a percentage of their income, SmartAsset financial experts first calculated people’s net income.

To do this, they looked at tax return data and subtracted total taxes paid, mortgage interest, mortgage points and mortgage insurance payments from total income to get each county’s net income. They then divided each county’s total charitable donations by its total net income to see how much county residents donated relative to their income.

SmartAsset gave Story County a 30 percent score on the index “Contributions as percent of income.”

Next, they took the total number of tax returns with charitable donations and divided them by the number of total tax returns for each county to get the proportion of people in each county who made charitable donations.

Story County received a 60 percent rating on the index “Contributions as percent of population.”

SmartAsset then indexed and equally weighted the two factors to yield the “most charitable counties” score, where Story County received a 52.7 percent rating.

The results from the 2016 study come on the heels of the conclusion of the annual fundraising campaign by United Way of Story County.

The 2018 “Live United” campaign, which ran in Story County from September through December, raised more than $2.2 million. It’s the fifth-consecutive year UWSC raised more than $2 million for the campaign, which funds a large number of groups and programs that promote health, education and financial stability for Story County residents.