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Does culture of giving result in high well-being ranking for Michigan town?

Article By Byron Butler On February - 18 - 2010

Although Disneyland is often referred to as the Happiest Place on Earth, a recent poll seems to disagree and says a small town in the economically hard-hit state of Michigan is actually one of the happiest in the country – due in part to its citizens’ philanthropic efforts.

The 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that the tiny town of Holland, Michigan ranks second on the list of all U.S. cities – sandwiched between Boulder, Colorado and Honolulu, Hawaii. While Holland – about 30 miles west of Grand Rapids – might not have the lush landscape or snowcapped mountains, an ABC News report indicates that the area’s propensity to give back might be what makes it so happy.

The news organization points out that a report of the Chronicle of Philanthropy recently named the region of Western Michigan – in which Holland is located – as the No. 2 most generous area in the U.S., behind only Salt Lake City, Utah.

Linda Jacobs, executive director of Good Samaritan Ministries, told ABC News that even with a 16 percent unemployment rate, the city has more than 100 service organizations which rely heavily on volunteers.

Katie Bell, partner at Global Well-Being for Gallup, said the poll shows that communities that rank high can see positive results in many ways.

"For leaders, the well-being of the residents in their respective cities, states and communities matters on many levels, with potential impact for economic development, law and order, and community pride and purpose," she said.

The philanthropic nature of Holland appears to not only be limited to its citizens as a report late last year showed that some Holland-based businesses gave back to the community often.

According to a December 2009 report from the Michigan Business Review, Fleetwood Group donated $956,073.21 last year, or $6,208.27 for each of the company’s 154 employees.

5 Responses to “Does culture of giving result in high well-being ranking for Michigan town?”

  1. […] Does culture of giving result in high well-being ranking for Michigan town? | The Daily Tell – […]

  2. Schwartz says:

    This is an example of Harvard academic Robert Putman’s finding that diversity actually reduces social capital. Putman noted that increased diversity was associated with decreased community trust and engagement. This town appears to be quite undiverse, so probably has higher levels of social capital as a result.

    Places with stable families, low crime rates, low levels of welfare dependency, safe streets and high levels of volunteerism suggest an absence of blacks. And sure enough, checking the demographics of Holland I see that blacks number a minuscule 1% of the population. But as I’ve said, you won’t see this anywhere in the MSM. That is, what is undoubtedly the most important component is totally airbrushed out by the Thought Police.

  3. M. Schisselr says:

    I actually live in Holland and it is pretty diverse. I have lived in large more diverse city’s in Michigan but in Holland we have a very large Hispanic population. Actual make up for more than half the population. We also have a large mixed Asian population. It is a very nice town to live in. From our heated sidewalks down town to keep the snow off, to the free parking. Also in the summer we have LOTS of concerts every week that are free, and they serve lunch in the city parks for free to kids under 18 yrs old.

  4. You have heated sidewalks? That is so cool! Anyway, I’m happy to see that some people understand the positive nature of diversity. I couldn’t imagine Seattle being the great city it is without our diversity here. Thanks so much for your comments.

  5. […] has a thriving downtown community and last year was named one of the happiest places to live in the United States.  Grand Rapids is exploding with positive energy as seen by the recent lip […]

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