The Top 10 Charitable Cities in the U.S.

Angelina Jolie Makes Speech At UNHCR's Governing Executive Committee Annual Meeting


The United States is one of the most charitable countries in the world. Granted, it missed out on the list of the 10 most charitable countries of 2016, but it still managed to have almost two thirds of its population donating on a regular basis, which is nothing to be ashamed of. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that there is a wide range of charities and other non-profit organizations that can be found throughout the United States, with common examples ranging from food banks and homeless shelters to animal rescues, environmental groups, and cultural institutions.

The sheer number of non-profit organizations means that there is a fair amount of competition between them for donations, which in turn, means that there is a fair amount of interest in where potential donors can be found as well as other kinds of information that can be used to convince said individuals to donate. However, it should also be noted that there is a fair amount of interest from other stakeholders in much the same information, whether from governmental organizations that are interested in learning more so as to set better policies or from private individuals who want to learn more about how their communities are performing relative to other communities in similar circumstances. Whatever the case, the enormous interest has ensured a corresponding wellspring of information, with Charity Navigator’s 2016 study being an excellent example of the sort of information that can be found out there with sufficient time and effort.

Charity Navigator claims that these are the 10 most charitable cities in the United States in 2016:

10. Cleveland

Charity Navigator calculates its scores based on a number of factors such as total revenues, total expenses, whether the staff can be found on online sources, the costs of fundraising, and how well the costs of fundraising were put to use, which makes sense because the total amount of donations does not reveal the whole of the narrative. Based on its factors, it deemed Cleveland to be the tenth most charitable city in the United States in 2016, more because Cleveland residents were more willing to donate compared to the national average than because Cleveland charities were more capable compared to the national average.

9. Baltimore

Baltimore managed to beat out Cleveland but fell a little bit short of Phoenix. In significant part, Baltimore’s charities received excellent scores when it came to their open and transparent practices, which should come as welcome news to those who are interested in giving to a good cause in that particular region. After all, increased transparency means a greater chance that their donations will go to where they believe they will go.

8. Phoenix

In significant part, Phoenix managed to score so high because its charities were just as open and transparent as those found in Baltimore. However, it should also be noted that Phoenix charities saw explosive growth in 2016 at a remarkable 8 percent, meaning that it is possible that it will land an even higher place in future years should it manage to keep up this pace.

7. Miami

Miami placed higher in 2015 than in 2016, though it is important to note that this is not because of a bad performance on its part so much as an outstanding performance on the part of others. Its charities are honest, while its people are charitable towards a wide range of causes but dominated by health and human services.

6. Minneapolis/St. Paul

Like the other cities on this list, Minneapolis/St. Paul boasts honest charities as well as plenty of people who are willing to provide them with money as well as other resources. However, it is curious to note that while its charities are just as focused on human services as those of Miami, they have a remarkable difference in that they are much more interested in culture as well as international causes.

5. San Diego

San Diego slid from the second spot in 2015 to the fifth spot in 2016. However, it is important to note that it scored well when it came to the practices of its charities, so much so that it is one of the top contenders in this regard. Instead, what suffered was the finances of its charities.

4. Dallas

Dallas has made major improvements over the course of the last year, having climbed to fourth position in spite of not having been part of the top five list in 2015. Regardless, most of this improvement seems to have come from the generosity of Dallas residents, seeing as how the city scored third highest out of all the cities included in the study, following Los Angeles and Houston.

3. Tampa/St. Petersburg

With that said, Dallas’s rise is nowhere near as impressive as Tampa’s rise, seeing as how it managed to become one of the most charitable cities on the list in spite of having been labelled one of the least charitable cities on the previous list. Its charities were not just in a good shape in a financial sense but also had excellent policies in the sense of both transparent practices and a staunch commitment to the protection of their donors.

2. St. Louis

For the most part, St. Louis managed to secure its position on the list because its charities were some of the best run from a financial perspective, which is important because richer charities are also capable of exerting more influence in their chosen fields. Of course, seeing its position, it should come as no surprise to learn that its charities are also run according to high ethical standards.

1. Houston

Houston remains the single most charitable city in the United States for another year. In part, this is because its residents were the most generous in the country. However, it should also be noted that both donors and non-profit organizations in Houston went out of their way to be informed, which speaks volumes about the vitality of the non-profit scene in the city. Something that cannot be acquired save through extensive and long-standing experience on both sides.

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