Fidelity Charitable annual city rankings highlight local giving trends, differences

2017 study examines eight charitable priorities across 30 U.S. metro areas

BOSTON, October 3, 2017 – Giving priorities are significantly influenced by the communities where donors live, according to a ranking released today by Fidelity Charitable, the nation’s second-largest grantmaker. The Geography of Giving study looks at Fidelity Charitable donors in the top 30 metropolitan areas and takes a closer look at eight charitable priorities: arts and culture, education, environment and animals, health, human services, international affairs, religion and society benefit.1 For each priority, the analysis ranks the top 10 cities by prevalence of support for charities in these sectors.

The new analysis supplements the fifth annual Fidelity Charitable Giving Report, which demonstrates giving priorities that span across geographic regions in the United States. Fidelity Charitable’s Geography of Giving analysis shows that metropolitan areas maintain unique giving identities as well.

“Fidelity Charitable donors are connected by more than generosity and a commitment to making the world a better place. They are also connected by the place they call home,” said Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable. “Where donors live plays an important role in the way they give, and Fidelity Charitable is proud to help support donors build resilient communities to make a better world.”

While national trends paint a broad picture of Americans’ giving habits, local data tells a more nuanced story. The study found support for education had particular strength in the cities in the northeast; religious organizations rank number one in cities in the South and Midwest, and cities in the West support environmental charities at much higher rates.

The top 10 ranking cities for each charitable sector

  • Arts & Culture: San Francisco ranks first nationally in support of arts and culture organizations, such as public broadcasting.
  • Education: The Bridgeport metro area in Connecticut ranks in the top three for number of residents who hold at least a four-year degree, so it’s no surprise that it repeated as the number one area for supporting this sector.
  • Environment and animals: San Francisco’s donors provide more support to the environment and to animal welfare causes than any other region. It is the first city in the country to have a park or open space within a 10-minute walk of every resident.
  • Health: Home to world-renowned hospitals, Boston donors make their region number one in the United States for support of the health sector, both locally and in other regions of the country.
  • Human Services: Donors in the Bridgeport metro area, Connecticut, which includes Greenwich and Westport, have used their Giving Accounts to support nonprofits that provide human services, making the region first in support of this area, jumping four spots from the year before.
  • International affairs: New York donors often think beyond our nation’s borders when recommending grants, beating out last year’s top city, Washington, DC. New York City now holds the top rank for donor support to international affairs nonprofits, which reflects the global orientation of many of its residents.
  • Religion: Indianapolis unseats Salt Lake City in this year’s ranking for supporting religion, by climbing two spots.
  • Society Benefit: Florida made its presence known on this year’s lists. Miami retains its top rank for society benefit, while another Florida city, Naples, comes in second for human services.

The analysis examines Fidelity Charitable donors in the top 30 U.S. metropolitan areas of donor activity by the percent of local Giving Accounts that recommend grants to nonprofits across eight philanthropic sectors: art and culture, education, environment and animals, health, human services, international affairs, religion, and society benefit. The data for the report was obtained from Fidelity Charitable’s internal reporting database and looks at Fidelity Charitable activity in calendar year 2016.

For additional detail on reporting methodology and to read the complete analysis and download the ranking, visit 2017 Geography of Giving.

1The information presented in these lists ranks Fidelity Charitable’s top 30 metropolitan areas—which all have 400 or more Giving Accounts—by the percentage of local Giving Accounts that recommend grants to nonprofits to these eight sectors as defined by the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE).

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 235,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $26 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple, and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit

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