Wealthy Nevadans give more than national average | NevadaAppeal.com

Wealthy Nevadans give more than national average

SANDRA CHEREBThe Associated Press

Wealthy Nevadans with incomes topping $1 million are more generous in their philanthropic donations than the national average of high-end earners, according to a report released Wednesday.The report by Private Bank, a division of Nevada State Bank that serves well-off clients, said the average contribution from Nevada’s high net worth households was $138,320 in 2009, 8.2 percent higher than national average. “Oftentimes, people suggest that Nevadans are less generous when it comes to charitable giving, but this certainly cannot be said about the high net worth segment of the population,” said Jeremy Aguero, principal at Applied Analysis who compiled research for the report.Statistics from the Internal Revenue Service showed that in 2009, 1.8 percent of total income in Nevada was written off for charitable contributions, representing an average of $957 per tax return, the report said. For high-income earners, the write-offs amounted to 3 percent.The largest beneficiary, both in Nevada and nationally, is higher education. From 2000 to 2010, donations to higher education in Nevada accounted for 44 percent, or $1.5 billion, of all charitable donations. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas received the largest share, $166.6 million, followed by the University of Nevada, Reno, which took in $70.7 million.Nationally, contributions to higher education totaled nearly $91 billion, or about 25 percent of the $360 billion donated overall.While higher education as whole accounted for the bulk of donations, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas was the highest single recipient, benefiting from nearly $200 million. The Nevada Cancer Institute was second with $187 million.In all, Nevadans gave 13.3 percent, or $455 million of their gifts to support the arts, culture and the humanities; 10 percent or $348 million to human services; 7.3 percent or $250 million to health; and 25 percent or $855 million to all other charitable categories.In the past decade, Nevadans gave $3.4 billion in publicly announced large donations of $1 million or more. But the report also noted that three-fourths of that money went to organizations outside the state, with only $904 million remaining in the Silver State.Still, Russell Price, executive vice president of the Private Bank, said limiting or eliminating tax deductions for charitable giving could affect not only the bottom line for high-income households but the causes they support.“These dollars fund some of the most critical social services in the state,” Prices said. “Preserving the ability for wealthy families to support causes they are passionate about is critical to our state’s future.”