2022’s Most Generous Cities

Staff Report

Monday, November 29th, 2021

As we enter the season of giving — giving thanks and helping those in need — many of us are working and earning more, but the pandemic continues to make life difficult for millions of Americans.

In fact, “nearly 20 million adults live in households that did not get enough to eat” and “12 million adult renters are behind on rent,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Thankfully, many Americans are stepping up to help those in need, but what are 2022’s Most Generous Cities?

LawnStarter compared 130 of the biggest U.S. cities across 13 key indicators of philanthropic behavior, from charitable giving to volunteering rates to the number of food banks — even the number of individuals who converted their Little Free Library into a food sharing box for hungry neighbors.

See the 20 cities reaching the deepest into their hearts and pockets below, followed by highlights from our report.

2022’s Most Generous Cities

Rank City
1 Minneapolis, MN
2 Seattle, WA
3 Portland, OR
4 New York, NY
5 Baltimore, MD
6 Washington, DC
7 St. Paul, MN
8 Indianapolis, IN
9 Vancouver, WA
10 Chicago, IL
Rank City
11 Boston, MA
12 St. Louis, MO
13 Denver, CO
14 Milwaukee, WI
15 Cincinnati, OH
16 Salt Lake City, UT
17 San Francisco, CA
18 Houston, TX
19 Detroit, MI
20 Tacoma, WA

Highlights and Lowlights:

  • The Most Selfless Twins: The baseball team isn’t the only saintly thing in the Twin Cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, truly embody the meaning of “neighborly.” Minneapolis landed in first place both overall and in the Individual Generosity category, while St. Paul finished not far behind in seventh place.

    Not only are the residents of these cities the most giving of their time (both No. 1 for volunteering rate), but they also make sure to serve hungry community members with hot meals. Minneapolis ranked No. 6 and St. Paul No. 8 in soup kitchens. They also ranked No. 3 and No. 13, respectively, in sharing box locations that locals set up for their food-insecure neighbors during the pandemic.

    Mister Rogers would have had a beautiful day in these neighborhoods.

  • Bigger Cities, Bigger Needs: Bigger cities generally performed better in our ranking than smaller and midsize cities. 

    That’s because big cities tend to focus on maximizing their collective impact more than their individual contributions. In fact, America’s three biggest cities, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in that order, dominated our Community Generosity metrics. Houston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., also placed in the top 10 of this category. 

    With increasing economic inequality, these big cities demonstrate that generosity tends to sprout where it’s needed most.

  • Florida Falls by the Wayside: Florida sent four cities to our bottom 10, including Hialeah in last place overall. Jacksonville (No. 45) and Orlando (No. 58) are the only two Sunshine State cities to crack the top half. 

    In the Individual Generosity category, multiple Florida cities tied for last place in four out of six metrics and only barely escaped last place in the other two. Their performance in Community Generosity wasn’t any better, either. The number of animal shelters was the only metric out of seven total in which a Florida city didn’t rank in the bottom 10 or tie for last place.

    If you’ve fallen on hard times, don’t head to many Sunshine State cities looking for help — but rest assured your four-legged friends will find a home.

Our full ranking and analysis can be found here: https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/studies/most-generous-cities/