Departing Wealth Hurts NJ Charities

STATE – According to a study by Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy released last week, $70 billion dollars in wealth left New Jersey between 2004 and 2008, while the state’s charitable capacity declined by $1.13 billion.

“What we are seeing here is that wealth – and those who hold it – are not only leaving New Jersey, but they are also not being replaced at the same rate,” said Hans Dekker, President of the Community Foundation of New Jersey. “This has major consequences for communities across the state, especially on the nonprofit community which relies on these families to fund their critical programming.”


The study was commissioned by the Community Foundation of New Jersey and the Enterprise Trust at the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce and looked at New Jersey’s household wealth migration over the past decade, from 1999 through 2008.

From 1999 through 2003, New Jersey saw an in-migration of wealth of $98 billion and, in the same period, charitable capacity increased by $881 million. From 2004 through 2009, the complete reversal of that trend occurred, which amounted to a total decline in charitable capacity of approximately $2 billion.

“This study is important because it is the first time we have captured the movement of household wealth from one part of the country to another,” said John Havens, Senior Research Associate at the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. “The migration of wealth out of New Jersey is substantial and significant.”

Wealth began to leave New Jersey around the time when a series of changes to the state’s tax structure made it less competitive for charitable families compared to neighboring states. New Jersey’s state income taxes have risen to levels above New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and there is not a deduction on state income taxes for charitable giving.

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