Midwest cities rank highest in listing of best charity-givers

WHEN it comes to charitable giving, people in the heartland of the United States are proving that they have hearts of gold.

In a survey of the nation's largest cities, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that 6 of the top 10 charity-giving cities are in the Midwest.

Minneapolis ranks as the most generous city, followed by Columbus, Ohio; Omaha, Neb.; Cleveland; Cincinnati. Milwaukee, Atlanta, Honolulu, Hawaii, Pittsburgh, and Seattle round out the top 10.

The rankings are based on per-capita giving to major charities and grants made by foundations and corporations in the 50 cities. The ``least philanthropic cities'' in the US are all in California. Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Fresno brought up the bottom of the list.

``The only exception to the trend is San Francisco, which is 12th from the top,'' says Stacy Palmer, managing editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Beyond the tough economic conditions in southern California, Jack Shakely, president of the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles, blames the instability of the population and a lack of community ties for the region's low rating in philanthropy.

The poverty level of some cities clearly affects the generosity of its residents. El Paso, Texas, which has the lowest per-capita income of the 50 cities in the survey, ranked last in charitable contributions.

``But the cities with the highest per-capita incomes are not necessarily the most generous,'' Ms. Palmer says. Minneapolis, which ranked as the most generous city in America, is 17th in per-capita income.

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