Charitable giving in the U.S. quickly is becoming more ethnically, culturally and socioeconomically diverse, yet conventional philanthropy has not fully recognized, embraced and partnered with communities of color and needs to understand and support their philanthropy if it wants to drive social change, a new report says.
So-called “identity-based” or “self-help” funds, the main vehicle for giving by communities of color, currently raise and distribute nearly $400 million a year, roughly equivalent to grants that an $8 billion-asset foundation would make annually, says the report, Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color.
Much of that $400 million comes from donors of color, many of them new to “formal” philanthropy, says the report, which was prepared by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation with major support from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Communities of color are growing in size and assets, the report says.
Sixty-three percent of Latino households now make charitable donations, as do nearly two-thirds of African-American households, which give $11 billion a year, the report says.
Aggregate charitable giving by African Americans is growing faster than either their aggregate income or aggregate wealth, the report says, while those households and Asian-American households give away a bigger share of their income each year than do whites.
Still, average income in many communities of color still lags the overall American average, although the gap is closing the report says.
Historically, it says, communities of color have received a tiny share of “mainstream” philanthropic dollars, despite an “often disproportionate need.”
Poverty rates for Native Americans total 25.7 percent, the highest in the U.S., for example, yet that group receives just 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent of available philanthropic funds.
From 2004 to 2010, Kellogg awarded $15.5 million for its “Cultures of Giving” initiative to support and grow philanthropy in communities of color.
Sixty-four percent of its grantees that reported results for the period raised $5.9 million, Kellogg says, estimated the total could be as much as $8.8 million assuming the remaining 36 percent generated funds at a similar rate.