Charity donations remain strong despite technology downturn

Thursday June 27, 2002

SAN JOSE — Despite the high-tech meltdown of the past two years, Silicon Valley residents continue to generously give to charities, according to a report released Wednesday. 

The report, based on a poll by Field Research Corp. and commissioned by Community Foundation Silicon Valley, found that 78 percent of households in the area said they have given money or property to a charity or nonprofit group this year. 

That figure was 83 percent when Community Foundation did a similar study in 1998. But those who are giving are donating a higher percentage of their income — 3.3 percent, compared to 2.7 percent in 1998. 

Perhaps most surprisingly, 83 percent of the 1,516 people surveyed said they are donating just as much or more than they did last year, said Chi Nguyen, a senior associate at Collaborative Economics, the private advisory firm that wrote the report. 

“I think it’s a hopeful message that our community has stayed committed even through the difficult year we’ve had economically,” she said. 

She said the study should shatter the commonly held belief that high-tech workers are too busy or too self-involved to donate. The report said the average Silicon Valley household gives $2,300 to charity, well above the national average of $1,620. 

“We’ve lived with this often-repeated stereotype of ‘cyber-stingy,”’ Nguyen said. “Our data doesn’t support that.”