At a time when the nation seems so divided, a report on the realtor.com site offers a ray of sunshine. "America is a nation of givers," writes Yuqing Pan. She points out that in 2015, Americans donated over $373 billion to charities, the highest amount ever, according to the tracking firm Giving USA. That data and several other indicators helped realtor.com develop its list of the 10 most compassionate cities. Our mission at the Council is to showcase how that compassion when combined with technology can lead to effective, replicable solutions to some of society's most pressing problems. We've linked some examples at the bottom of this story. – Liz Enbysk
The article cites a number of data sources that informed its list of America's most compassionate cities -- the Internal Revenue Service, Nielsen, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau and animalshelter.org among them.
To determine the rankings, Pan says they looked at 250 of the largest cities and the following criteria:
- Percentage of income donated
- Volunteer rate
- Percentage of people working in social services, such as special ed teachers, therapists, nurses
- Percentage of people working for nonprofit organizations
- Public charities per capita
- Animal shelters per capita
Provo tops the list; Ann Arbor is No. 2
Tax return data from the IRS suggests residents of Provo, Utah donate 6.4% of their income to charities – the highest rate in the U.S. Because so many Provo residents belong to the Church of Latter-Day Saints, where tithing 10% of members' income to charity is encouraged, religion is likely a strong factor driving Provo's ranking.
Meanwhile, proving there are many ways to make a difference, folks in Ann Arbor, Michigan have a volunteer rate of 12.7%. Ann Arbor is No. 2 on the compassionate cities list. In what WalletHub calls America's most educated city, a lot of volunteer hours in Ann Arbor are spent advocating for education and literacy.
The other cities that made the top 10 include strong representation from the South:
3. Richmond, VA
4. Durham, NC
5. Charleston, SC
6. Atlanta, GA
7. Alexandria, VA
8. Birmingham, AL
9. Eugene, OR
10. Scottsdale, AZ
Read the complete realtor.com article to learn how compassion plays out in each of these cities.
Innovating to include
Now consider just a few examples of how communities are combining compassion with technology to lift up vulnerable populations:
- Lessons from Asheville: Solving community problems with data
- Seattle homeless wear electronic beacons that tell their stories to passersby
- UK councils partner on solar-plus-storage pilot to reduce fuel poverty
- How a NC county uses predictive analytics to save lives of at-risk kids
- Australian demonstrates the power of the web to help those in need
This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.
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