Houston Tapped As Hot Charity Market — Again

Houston, Texas is America’s most charitable city for the second year running, according to Charity Navigator’s annual metro-area rankings. San Diego, Calif., is the only other city returning to the top five, having finished second in 2015 and tied for fourth in 2016.

The Glen Rock, N.J.-headquartered charity watchdog’s rankings are based on median financial factors, such as program and fundraising expenses, transparency factors such as privacy policies and availability of audited financials and size metrics such as total revenue. Charity Navigator evaluated 30 metro markets representing 62 percent of the nearly 8,000 charities it has evaluated and 76 percent of the total revenue of those charities for the ranking.

The top five metro areas for 2016 are:
1. Houston, Texas;
2. St. Louis, Mo.;
3. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.;
T4. Dallas, Texas; and,
T4. San Diego, Calif.

The bottom five metro areas for 2016 are:
30. Cincinnati, Ohio;
29. Indianapolis, Ind.;
28. Seattle, Wash.;
27. Pittsburgh, Pa.; and,
26. Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Simply put, there’s a tremendous amount of philanthropic energy in that community right now,” Michael Thatcher, president and CEO of Charity Navigator, said of Houston. “The city’s number one ranking in our study is directly related to financial strength and ethical behavior exhibited by Houston charities, a result of the hard work of both informed donors and responsible nonprofit leaders.”

In addition to the overall ranking, Cities were also broken down by their median performance in various metrics. Other findings in the rankings include:

* The median CEO salary is highest in Washington, D.C., $181,945, and lowest in Orlando, Fla., $106,948. The national median for those evaluated is $126,450;

* Charities in Orlando, Fla., have the highest median portion of dollars going toward program expenses, 85 percent. New York City charities evaluated rank the lowest at 79.8 percent, with an 81.5 percent national median;

* Year-to-year program expense growth is highest among Phoenix, Ariz.-based charities, 8 percent. Atlanta, Ga.-based charities evaluated are moving the slowest on that front, 1.9 percent, as compared with a 4.3 percent national median of those evaluated;

* Houston, Texas charities received the most contributions in the past fiscal year, a median of $4,316,244. Nashville, Tenn. ranked last with, $2,371,831, the national median being $2,894,014; and,

* Charities in San Diego, Calif. are the most likely to make Form 990s public at a rate of 69.8 percent. Nashville, Tenn. charities are the least likely, 38.1 percent, with the national median being 52.1 percent.

To view the full rankings, visit: charitynavigator.org