New Eyes for the Needy has been in Short Hills for over 80 years and the non-profit organization said it's thanks to time and money the residents donate to its cause.
"Without the support of town's residents volunteering or donating money or merchandise, New Eyes would not be what it is today," the Community Relations Coordinator of the organization, Jean Gajano, said.
In a recent study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, released on Monday, Short Hills ranks 208 out of 28,725 towns nationwide for contributions.
"I think the people in our community are aware, humanitarian and are charitable," Mayor Sandra Haimoff said. "They don't just volunteer in various organizations, they also donate."
The generosity from the residents helped New Eyes Raised over $8,000 for its annually concert and the new study shows Essex County residents share Gajano assessment locally, countywide and statewide.
Essex County ranked 62 out of 3,115 counties surveyed in the country with a median contribution of $2,712 per household and had total contributions for that year of $426.1 million, or 5.5 percent of resident’s total income, according to the report.
Gajano said, "When I look down the list of volunteers it's mainly Millburn and Short Hills residents, although other residents from surrounding towns volunteer, such as Summit and Chatham.
Short Hills donated $51.4 million with an average contribution of $13,182 in 2008. Millburn ranks 6,620 out of 28,725 towns for contributions, donating $5.4 million with an average contribution of $2,984 in 2008.
"We also teach our children to do this in schools, churches or synagogues," Haimoff said. "It's passionate throughout the entire township."
Charitable donations for non-profits and religious institutions in the state for 2008 ranked New Jersey in eighth place in the country, according to the report.
The report used IRS tax record for 2008, the most recent year data was available, to examine income levels and charitable donations made by taxpayers in each ZIP code.
The IRS releases figures for total amounts donated, but to protect privacy, the agency does not provide figures about the specific charities people supported.
Overall, charitable donations by New Jersey residents ranked eighth in the nation in 2008 with $4.5 billion, accounting for residents donating 3.7 percent of their annual income. In contrast, California finished in first place with $17.2 billion incharitable donations, with residents donating 4.4 percent of their annual income, while neighboring New York second place with $11.3 billion, accounting for 4.4 percent of resident’s annual income. North Dakota ranked last in the report with $163.5 million with residents donating 3.5 percent of their annual income.