Most and Least Charitable Cities from Charity Navigator (Full Release)

According to the Nation's Leading Charity Evaluator,
San Diego Tops Annual List; Indianapolis Worst in Nation

GLEN ROCK, N.J., June 1, 2013 - San Diego's philanthropic community is the tops in the nation, according to a new study by Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator. It is the only comprehensive report on the performance - both Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency - of the 30 largest philanthropic marketplaces in America. The study shows that San Francisco's and Houston's charities are growing the fastest, New York has the largest number of charities, Detroit's charities spend the most on programs, Orlando pays its nonprofit CEOs the least, and Cleveland's charities have the most substantial rainy day funds.

In its study, Charity Navigator compared the median performance and size of the largest nonprofits in the 30 largest metropolitan markets (Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Washington, DC). Those markets account for 52% of the more than 6,300 charities evaluated by Charity Navigator and they generate 67% of the total revenue and 67% total spending. The study revealed that regional factors, such as the cost of living, a market's maturity and a city's tendency to support one or two specialized causes, greatly influence the ability of the charities in each city to raise money, manage costs as well as their adherence to good governance policies and procedures.

In terms of their overall Financial Health and commitment to Accountability & Transparency, the study's highest and lowest rated charitable communities are:

Highest Rated

Current Ranking

Previous Ranking

1) San Diego

1) Houston

2) Houston

2) Kansas City

3) Kansas City

3) St. Louis

4) Cincinnati

4) Cincinnati

5) San Francisco

5) Portland

Lowest Rated

Current Ranking

Previous Ranking

30) Indianapolis

30) Orlando

29) Orlando

29) Tampa/ St. Petersburg

28) Nashville

28) Indianapolis

27) Atlanta

27) Milwaukee

26) Miami

26) Miami

"Although the cities on the top and the bottom of this report have changed over the course of the nine years we've published this study," said Ken Berger, President & CEO of Charity Navigator, "the overall strength and diversity of the philanthropic sector across America continues to amaze me. The fact that America is home to the largest charitable sector in the history of the world, is a testament to the dedication and hard work of donors and philanthropic leaders across our nation."

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Market Size: New York City (661 large charities), D.C. (522) and L.A. (219) are more crowded and competitive philanthropic markets than Cincinnati (36), Indianapolis (37) and Orlando (38).

  • CEO Compensation: Charity executives in New York City ($190,001) and D.C. ($175,922) earn considerably more than those in Orlando ($102,336) and Kansas City ($106,710).

  • Program Expenses: Detroit's charities (86.7%) devote the largest percentage of their spending to their programs and services while Indianapolis charities spend the least (79.3%).

  • Annual Growth: Charities in Houston and San Francisco are among the fastest growing, while charities in Orlando, Milwaukee and Tampa/ St. Petersburg are among the slowest.

  • Level of Contributions: Donors to charities in Milwaukee ($5.4 million), Denver ($4.9 million) and Boston ($4.7 million) are especially generous as these charities report the highest median contributions in the study. Charities in Orlando ($2.2 million), Tampa/St. Petersburg ($2.3 million) and Seattle ($2.8 million) report the lowest median contributions.

  • Wealth: Cleveland's largest charities are generally richer in assets and working capital than charities in other parts of the country, while charities in Colorado Springs are less financially secure.

  • Accountability & Transparency: Charities in Portland and Denver earn the highest scores for their commitment to being accountable and transparent while charities in Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas and Orlando score the lowest.

  • Financial Health: The largest charities in Houston and San Diego earn higher scores for their financial health than those in Phoenix and Orlando.

  • Donor Privacy Policy: Kansas City (71%) has the highest percentage of charities with written donor privacy plans (stating that the charity will not sell, trade or share its donors' personal information with anyone else, nor send mailings on behalf of other organizations); Pittsburgh (34%) has the lowest percentage of charities with such policies.

  • Types of Charities: Approximately 40% of the largest charities in Orlando, Miami and St. Louis are classified as Human Services making these philanthropic marketplaces less diverse in terms of the types of charities represented. With nearly 38% of its large charities classified as Religion and no large Environment or Health charities, Colorado Springs is also a less diverse city. Minneapolis/St. Paul is home to a more philanthropically diverse marketplace as it contains at least 2%, but no more than 19%, of each type of charity.

About Charity Navigator (
Charity Navigator is the largest charity evaluator in America and its website attracts more visitors than all other charity rating groups combined. The organization helps guide intelligent giving by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of more than 6,300 charities. Charity Navigator accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates, ensuring unbiased evaluations, nor does it charge the public for this trusted data. As a result, Charity Navigator, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization itself, depends on support from individuals, corporations and foundations that believe it provides a much-needed service to America's charitable givers. Charity Navigator, can be reached directly by telephone at (201) 818-1288, or by mail at 139 Harristown Road, Suite 101, Glen Rock, N.J., 07452.

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