Giving in L.A.: A Snapshot of Who’s Pitching In and Where

There’s a lot of generosity in the region, though we could certainly use a lot more.
Graphic by Nicolas Rapp


Los Angeles is big. It’s beautiful. It’s endlessly fascinating. And it’s complicated. This is a region with deep pockets (some of the nation’s wealthiest zip codes) and dire needs. It’s a place where homes can easily sell for more than $2 million and tent-filled homeless encampments seem to be spreading by the month. The region’s major public university is among the world’s leading research institutions, while the Los Angeles Unified School District ranks among the nation’s most troubled, with a student body that is predominantly poor.

Although most people involved in philanthropy here can attest to how difficult the tasks of broadening public awareness and increasing public investment can be, Los Angeles isn’t doing so badly when it comes to giving. As the statistics above from The Chronicle of Philanthropy and the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs detail, many Angelenos are taking action to help resolve some of the area’s most stubborn and pervasive contradictions. UCLA’s research (from 2014) breaks down our generosity by age, neighborhood, and area of interest. One Luskin School report finds that we give more generously than East Coast donors, while another report notes that nearly two-thirds of that money stays local.

Meanwhile, The Chronicle data (from 2015) compares metropolitan L.A. with other areas around the country, noting a nearly 10 percent drop in giving here since the Great Recession. We have a ways to go before reaching pre-recession charitable levels, but our hearts and wallets are moving in the right direction.

This article is a part of Give Los Angeles 2017: A Charitable Registry. Click here for more