By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Teams from Minneapolis and St. Paul will compete Saturday in WCCO’s second Pulling Together event. Not only is it a giant tug-of-war along the Mississippi River, it’s also a fundraiser for Fraser.

The goal is to help Fraser expand its services for children with autism across the state, so WCCO is asking Minnesotans to give.

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We know Minnesotans are generous with giving their time, but how generous are they with their money? Good Question.

According to Giving USA, Americans donated $410 billion last year — the most ever. Most of those donations came directly from individuals (70 percent), followed by foundations (16 percent), bequests (9 percent) and corporations (5 percent).

It’s important to note that most donation data is hard to calculate because it’s measured by what people write off on their taxes. Given not everyone itemizes, there are likely many donations that aren’t counted.

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Bob Tracy with the Minnesota Council of Foundations says he does expect a nationwide drop in individual charitable giving in 2019 once people feel the extent of the new tax law. That’s because fewer people are expected to itemize their deductions.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Minnesotans gave $3.4 billion last year. Minnesota does slightly outperform other states its size, but ranks 41st when considering the percentage of income that’s given.

In 2017, the average Minnesotan who itemized charity donations gave $4400 and 2.7 percent of their income. Pipestone County had the highest percentage of income given at 4.7 percent.

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Giving USA also calculates where people give money nationwide. Almost 1/3 of donations (31 percent) go toward religion, followed by education (14 percent), human services (12 percent), foundations (11 percent), then health (9 percent).

Heather Brown