Provo named ‘most generous’ city in the US

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Andrew Davidson takes a moment to stop and serve at the Y-Serve student center.

Provo topped the list of US cities in generosity for 2012 according to a study by Business Insider that was based upon percentage of residents who volunteer, hours volunteered and percentage of their annual income donated every year.

Over 58 percent of all residents in Provo volunteered in the past calendar year, and they each volunteered almost 150 hours per person annually. Additionally, Provo residents donated 13.9 percent of their income every year.

The report mentioned BYU as a main source of volunteers and the Center for Service and Learning as a main component behind the generous behaviors. Theodore Okawa, a head coordinator at the center, was excited to hear of the recognition.

“How cool is that,” Okawa said when he’d heard the news. “But in all honesty, I’m not surprised. There is such a culture of giving here.”

The Center for Service and Learning, or Y-Serve, has over 80 programs, and each records its numbers of volunteers and hours each month. Okawa believes the community residents also have a large hand in the volunteer numbers.

“I went to a training for a new service program and saw many other faculty members and staff from BYU there as well as students,” Okawa said. “The affluent people in the city know the value of service.”

Utah swept the list with Ogden named as second and Salt Lake City coming in third. Other cities included Boise, Idaho, and Boulder, Colo.

Students were happy to hear that Provo topped the list, and many believed it had to do with the Latter-day Saint culture in Utah cities.

“A lot of that money donated is probably tithing,” said junior Devon Lawless. “But that’s still great. Our religion just encourages charity help.”

Another student, Stacy Hitchler, said she was raised doing service with her ward and family.

“It’s just something that sticks with me,” Hitchler said. “I try to do something at least every few weeks because I know it helps others and keeps me sane.”

To read the full report and find the other cities on the list, see the article on Business Insider.

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