When asked to 'dig deep,' many Mississippi donors do

On Thanksgiving Day, the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League and Grammy Award-winning singer Sheryl Crow helped the Salvation Army kick off its 115th annual red kettle campaign to collect money for the needy. The army takes in about $100 million a year, much of it in spare nickels, dimes, and quarters from the pockets of passersby. Many of them have been Mississippians, even though their state has its share of poverty - especially of the rural variety. Compared to the rest of the nation, however, no place is more generous when it comes to charitable giving. The Catalogue of Philanthropy, a Boston-based nonprofit, ranks Mississippi No. 1 in its annual Generosity Index, which is based on average adjusted gross incomes and the value of itemized deductions declared on 2003 federal tax returns. The 10 most generous states, from the latest index:

1. Mississippi
2. Arkansas
3. South Dakota
4. Oklahoma
5. Tennessee
6. Alabama
7. Louisiana
8. Utah
9. South Carolina
10. West Virginia
- Associated Press

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