Forest Hills ranked most generous in the US on charity platform


Forest Hills in Queens was rated the most generous neighborhood in the United States thanks to residents’ plentiful charitable contributions.

Charity Navigator, the watchdog group that monitors and rates tax-exempt charitable orgs, also offers a platform on its website where individuals can donate to a number of worthy causes.

Its analysis tracked donations made on the platform from November 2021 to November 2023 by residents of cities or neighborhoods with populations of 50,000 or more.

“It’s definitely exciting to see Forest Hills at the top,” said Kevin Scally, chief of Charity Navigator’s relations office.

It found that Forest Hills residents donated $24.56 per capita — tops in the country, followed by San Ramon, Calif. ($22.62); Evanston, Ill ($22.24); Magnolia, Texas ($20.65); McLean, Va. ($20.44); Bethesda, Md ($18.02); Gig Harbor, Wash. ($17.57); Silver Spring, Md. ($14.48); Cedar Park, Texas ($12.97) and Oviedo, Fla ($10.14).

Yonkers is the only other New York municipality that cracked the top 20, coming in at #15, averaging $8.95 in donations per resident. 

Forest Hills residents made 790 donations totaling $61,782.

The average donation was $78.

Forest Hills in Queens was named the most generous neighborhood in the country by watchdog group Charity Navigator. Getty Images

Forest Hills is a middle-income to affluent neighborhood with suburban homes and luxury high-rises in an urban setting, lined with Tudor houses off of Queens Boulevard and Metropolitan Avenue, its major thoroughfares.

It also has an enclave with private streets — Forest Hills Garden. The subway and Long Island Railroad have stops there and the Forest Hills stadium is a summer draw for concerts..

Some of the community’s famous residents include the singing duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, members of the punk band The Ramones and even Spider-Man

Forest Hills residents donated $24.56 per capita, according to Charity Navigator. Getty Images

More than a third of the residents in Forest Hills are Jewish and the neighborhood has a growing Asian-American population.

Jewish organizations were among the causes that most benefited from Forest Hill’s donations.

The list of organizations receiving donations include Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical service, Friends of Tel Aviv University, Friends of Hebrew University and the Anti-Defamation League. 

Other donations went to the 92nd Street Y, Doctors Without Borders, Planned Parenthood, and the United High Commissioner for Refugees.

Forest Hills merchants also took matters into their own hands, holding fundraisers to aid relief efforts for Ukrainians following Russia’s invasion last year.

Scally said there was a “gigantic spike” in traffic on Charity Navigator’s website last year following Russia’s aggression.

But he said the number of users donating has plummeted by 20 percent this year, which he attributed in large part to inflation eating at discretionary income.

“The state of the economy with rising prices, inflation and wages not keeping up. Everything costs more and there’s less discretionary income,” Scally said.

Forest Hills residents made 790 donations on the Charity Navigator platform from November 2021 to November 2023. Education Images

In addition, he said Americans endured the COVID-19 pandemic and then were jolted by back-to-back wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

“Some people are pointing to donor fatigue,” he said.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards was thrilled but not surprised that Forest Hills was tops in small-donor generosity.

“We show generosity to our neighbors during tough times,” Richards. “We are the world’s borough.”

Directors from the not-for-profit groups such as The Fresh Air Fund and the West Side Campaign Against Hunger said they’re heavily reliant on individual donations from regular folks to help disadvantaged youth and the needy, respectively.

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