Geography matters when it comes to charitable giving, with the concerns of the community boosting giving for specific causes, according to Fidelity Charitable.

For example, the wildfires in California and Hurricane Florence in North Carolina may have influenced donors in those areas to give more to the human services category, the most popular charitable sector among Fidelity Charitable donors, Fidelity Charitable said.

Four new cities, Seattle, San Francesco, Charlotte, N.C., and Philadelphia, joined the top 10 metropolitan areas in human services giving this year. Cleveland jumped two spots from the year before, making the region first in support of the human services sector.

Surges and drops in the rankings of 30 metropolitan areas that Fidelity charitable looked at “in many cases were tied to how donors responded to news-making issues in their communities, illustrating how giving remains strongly tied to local issues and concerns,” Fidelity said in its report, "2019 Geography of Giving."

The report looked at charitable giving categories as defined by the IRS: arts and culture, education, environment and animals, health, human services, international affairs, religion and society benefit.

Portland, Ore., moved up four spots to second in the ranking for supporting the environment and animals sector. “Environmental activism may have been top-of-mind in Portland last year, as Juliana v. United States, a landmark lawsuit filed in Oregon by 21 students against the federal government over its climate change policies, continued to garner media attention,” Fidelity said.

Environmental and animal causes continue to garner more support in most charitable reports. Fidelity Charitable recorded a 24% year-over-year increase in the number of giving accounts in this category, which was the largest increase of any charitable sector.

"Support for education was particularly strong in the Northeast; religious organizations ranked high in the South and Midwest; the West was disproportionately prominent in its support of the environment and animals sector; and cities with a more global perspective were active in the international affairs sector,” according to the report.

Washington, D.C., surged in the ranking of supporting the international affairs sector. “The increase in international support here was influenced by world events, from the humanitarian crisis in Yemen to immigration policies at the U.S.-Mexico border,” the report said.

In the arts and culture segment, support for organizations such as museums, arts programs and public broadcasting services continued to be strong. “Portland, known for its vibrant art and music scene, moved up the rankings in 2018 to take the top spot for the first time,” the report said.

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