Giving by donor-advised fund account holders in 2018 was shaped in part by their response to natural disasters, environmental concerns, and international crises, a report from Fidelity Charitable finds.
Based on an analysis of giving by Fidelity Charitable account holders in thirty metropolitan areas, the report, 2019 Geography of Giving, ranked the top ten cities for giving in eight issue areas: arts and culture, education, environment and animal welfare, health, human services, international affairs, religion, and public society benefit. The study found that in response to the California wildfires and hurricanes Florence and Michael, giving in support of human services surged in the regions surrounding San Francisco and Charlotte, North Carolina, which ranked fifth and seventh in giving in that category; that Portland, Oregon, jumped from sixth place in 2017 to second in 2018 in giving to the environment and animal welfare, in part because Juliana v. United States — a lawsuit filed by students in Oregon over federal climate change policies — continued to garner media attention; and that Washington, D.C., jumped from fourth to the top spot in giving in the international affairs area, as world events ranging from the humanitarian crisis in Yemen to immigration policies at the U.S.-Mexico border continued to grab headlines.
According to the report, other regional trends included a concentration of support for religious organizations in the South and Midwest, home to nearly all the top-ranking cities for giving in the religion area; strong support for education in the Northeast, home to many of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the country; disproportionate support for the environment and animals in the West; and giving in support of international affairs in areas with diverse populations and large immigrant communities.
The top-ranking city in the eight issue areas were Portland, Oregon, in arts and culture, which jumped five spots to unseat Boston; Bridgeport, Connecticut, in education, unchanged from 2017; Boston in environment and animal welfare, replacing Providence, Rhode Island, which fell to fourth; Boston in health, unchanged from 2017; Cleveland in human services, moving up from third to top Boston and Bridgeport; Washington, D.C., in international affairs; St. Louis in religion, unchanged from 2017; and Miami in public society benefit, also unchanged.
"As the nation's largest grantmaker, we seek to understand the complete landscape of American giving — the priorities, concerns, and values of donors across the country — to create a better-informed donor community,” said Fidelity Charitable president Pamela Norley. "Last year, Fidelity Charitable's two hundred thousand donors generously supported more than a hundred and forty-two thousand nonprofit organizations in every state and across the world, but what we consistently see is how dedicated our donors are to their local communities."
(Photo credits: CDP, GettyImages)