The Most Generous U.S. Cities in 2020

published Dec 12, 2020
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While it’s been a difficult year, a recent report on generosity just might make the end of 2020 feel a little less bleak. Despite tough times under a pandemic, generosity among Americans experienced a rapid increase this year. According to Philanthropy News Digest, the total amount of charitable donations through the month of June alone equaled 47.3% of donations made for all of 2019. With this data in mind, the folks over at LawnStarter, an outdoor lawn care service, decided to crunch some data to determine the most generous U.S cities in 2020. 

To determine the findings, LawnStarter compared the 150 biggest U.S. cities across 12 key indicators of philanthropic behavior; these include factors like rate of volunteers, amount of food banks and shelters, and share of charitable donations. The No. 1 city? Minneapolis, Minnesota, followed by St. Paul, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Vancouver, Washington.

Boston, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Washington, D.C.; Tacoma, Washington; and Baltimore, Maryland round out the top 10. The study found that larger cities ranked higher than smaller and mid-sized cities. Boston and Washington, for example, have more nonprofit organizations and higher volunteer rates. Economic inequality in larger cities also plays a critical role. 

Credit: Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

Southern states ranked low in the findings, but this is certainly not to say that the residents in those cities are any less generous. Lack of available resources play a crucial role; cities like Lubbock, Texas and Columbus, Georgia, for example, have fewer numbers of donation centers, food banks, and volunteer opportunities, according to the report. Regardless, the study maintains that the need for food, shelter, and generosity will only grow more dire as we near the end of December—a time when pandemic-related unemployment benefits will expire for millions of Americans and there’s little to no government relief. 

So, how does one go about in spreading generosity—especially during a time of such financial hardship? Volunteering is the expert consensus. “Give of your time and talents,” Dr. Susan A. MacManus, university emerita at University of South Florida, told LawnStarter. Alexandra Graddy-Reed, assistant professor of public policy at the University of Southern California, added, “Stocking food pantry shelves, giving blood, and offering your skills like sewing or writing are great examples. Sharing about organizations and their needs through social media is also a great way to help out at no cost.”