Fidelity Charitable ranking of cities by giving priorities reveals key differences

Support varies from city-to-city for focus areas such as education, art and culture, environment and animals, health, human services, society benefit, international affairs and religion

BOSTON, June 22, 2016 – Where donors live makes a difference in what they support with their giving, as demonstrated by a ranking, released today, of the top cities supporting eight charitable priorities. The analysis of the support of Fidelity Charitable donors in the charity’s top 30 metropolitan areas reveals key differences in giving priorities based on where the donor is located. For instance, a higher proportion of donors in Salt Lake City support religiously based charities than donors in any other city, while San Francisco tops the list for supporting the arts and the environment.

The ranking and analysis is a supplement to the 2016 Fidelity Charitable Giving Report, the fourth annual produced by Fidelity Charitable. With more than 132,000 donors, Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity with one of the nation's largest donor-advised fund programs, and the nation’s second largest grantmaker, with cumulative grants of more than $22 billion since its inception 25 years ago.

The most frequently cited reason Fidelity Charitable donors say they give is ‘the cause or organization is important’ to them1, which speaks to the personal nature of giving. In addition to that personal approach, however, the lists highlight that donor support often has a geographic identity as well, with the needs and interests specific to a metropolitan area frequently driving donor grant recommendations. The Giving Report supplement lists provide a more nuanced picture of giving priorities than when they are viewed nationally, where the education and religion sectors are consistently on top. Washington, D.C., for example, is the top city for support to the international affairs sector, perhaps reflecting the diversity and world focus of its residents. Boston, where a number of world-class nonprofits in the health sector operate, is top for support of health care giving.

One of the more remarkable highlights is the diversity in the sizes of the cities that are ranked highly. While the nation’s very largest cities are represented in the rankings, so are smaller cities, highlighting the dedication of residents to certain common causes. For example, Detroit is second on the list for support of human services, and St. Louis, ranks among the top five for supporting environment and animals.

“We live in a very large and diverse country and it perhaps is no surprise that we see similar diversity reflected in how people from various cities choose to make an impact with their charitable contributions. Our work at Fidelity Charitable seeks to empower this diversity and help donors support the charitable causes most important to them. We are proud to play our role democratizing giving for Americans from every region, who continue to generously back causes that promote a vibrant and caring society across the country and around the world,” says Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable.

Highlights from the Giving Report supplement include:

  • Donors in the Detroit region have responded to local poverty with compassion, by using their Giving Accounts to support nonprofits that provide human services, making the region second for Giving Account support in this sector.
  • Donors in Salt Lake City, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rank highest among metropolitan areas in donor support to religious charities. Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Minneapolis and Raleigh-Durham also prioritize religion.
  • Washington, D.C., donors often think beyond our nation’s borders when they recommend grants. The city’s place atop the rankings for donor support to international affairs nonprofits reflects the global orientation of many of its residents.
  • San Francisco’s donors provide more support to the environment and to animal welfare causes than any other region. San Francisco also ranks first nationally in support of arts and culture organizations, such as public broadcasting.
  • With its world-renowned hospitals, Fidelity Charitable donors in Boston make their region number one in the United States for support of the health sector . Boston residents substantially support health-focused nonprofits located both locally and in other regions of the country.
  • Two cities in Florida—Naples and Miami—top their respective lists for human services and society benefit charities.

For media inquiries, please contact Nabil Ashour at 202-378-5617.

The information presented in these lists ranks Fidelity Charitable’s top 30 metropolitan areas – which all have 400 or more Giving Accounts – by the percent of local Giving Accounts that recommend grants to nonprofits across eight philanthropic sectors as defined by the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE): arts and culture, education, environment and animals, health, human services, society benefit, international affairs and religion. The data for this report was obtained from Fidelity Charitable’s internal reporting database and looks at Fidelity Charitable activity in calendar year 2015.

1Results from a survey of 1,694 Fidelity Charitable donors, conducted April and May of 2016. Half of donors said ‘the cause or organization is important to me’ is one of their most important motivations for giving.

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 219,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $22 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to further the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving simple, effective, and accessible. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit

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