Charity Case

When we’re feeling generous, we give money to God. And our dogs.

By Bart Blasengame May 19, 2009 Published in the May 2008 issue of Portland Monthly

THE STEREOTYPE of Portlanders sways from our necks like a two-ton padlock: pet-loving, tree-hugging do-gooders. Go ahead, roll your eyes. But while you’re groaning, know this: At least we put our money where the cliché is. According to a 2007 Oregon Community Foundation report, Multnomah County residents doled out $639 million to charity. Our giving broke down along pretty predictable lines: Education ($139.2 million) was the big winner overall, and a large chunk of cash went to the environment ($44.5 million) and to the dogs ($12.7 million to animals). But, given our reputation as godless types, it’s surprising that we gave more to religion ($15 million) than to Fido. Of course, religious donations still represent only 2 percent of the county’s total pie, while they make up 33 percent of the U.S. pot. If, like us, you’re wondering how to spend this month’s federal stimulus check (besides on that iPhone), we offer this chart showing you which causes we’ve given to in the past—and which ones we’ve stiffed.

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