Austin Charity Guide
Doing Good

Generous Hill Country counties among 10 most charitable places in Texas

Hill Country counties among 10 most charitable places in Texas

San Antonio Food Bank
Donations upon donations. San Antonio Food Bank/Facebook

One bright spot during this difficult time has been watching people up their charitable contributions, whether that means giving money to causes they support or donating goods that didn't make the cut during a quarantine deep clean.

But even before the pandemic, certain counties in Texas were making a noticeable impact with their generosity. SmartAsset recently released its 2019 ranking of the top 10 most charitable-minded Texas counties, using two equally weighted factors to index the findings.

The financial website looked at how much people donate as a percentage of their net income, and the proportion of people in a given county who made charitable donations.

To find the first number, they calculated the net income of all people in each county (by looking at tax return data and accounting for federal, state, and local taxes paid). They also accounted for deductible entries like mortgage interest, mortgage points, and mortgage insurance payments. Then, they divided each county's total charitable donations by its total net income to see how much county residents are donating relative to their income.

For the second factor, they took the total number of tax returns with charitable contributions and divided them by the number of total tax returns for each county. That produced the proportion of people in each county who make charitable donations.

So where are the most generous Texans?

Claiming the top spot is Kendall County, home to Boerne. Though technically fourth in the donation index, its residents made up for it with their contributor rate of 67.7, the highest on the list.

Fort Bend County, home to Houston neighbor Sugar Land, had similar results to grab its No. 2 finish, with middling donations being rescued by the second-highest rate of contributors, 66.4

Dallas-Fort Worth takes the next three spots, with Collin (home of Plano), Tarrant (Fort Worth and Arlington), and Denton (where University of North Texas' main campus is located) counties showing wildly varying results.

Tarrant County is pretty evenly split, with 40.6 for donations and 46.4 for contributors, but Collin and Denton deliver lower donation scores. At 25.1, Collin is the fourth-lowest, and Denton's 24.6 is next to last.

At No. 6 overall is Gillespie, where you'll find Fredericksburg and Luckenbach, and No. 7 is Montgomery, home of Lake Conroe and The Woodlands. Brazoria County, on the Gulf, has the lowest donation index in the top 10, at 23.7, but its contributor score of 55.1 pulls it up to No. 8.

Coming in at No. 9 is Smith, found east of DFW and the county seat of Tyler. Its 38.6 contributor index is closely matched by 38.9 for donations. Wrapping up the list at No. 10 is Parker County, west of Fort Worth, where Weatherford is located. Its total score clocks in 15 points below the most charitable county on the list, with a donation index of 24.8 and contributor index of 52.7.