Charitable Donations: Blacks Outpace Whites

So why don't we see ourselves as philanthropists?

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Reuters is reporting today on a study showing that African-American donors give higher percentages of their incomes to charity than their white counterparts, with nearly two-thirds of black households making charitable donations, worth a total of about $11 billion a year. And it's not just a little more: That number means black donors turn over a full 25 percent more of their incomes than white donors annually, according to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors research. The results have many wondering why more African Americans don't self-identify as philanthropists.

From Reuters:

But they don't see themselves as big players in the charitable arena, and that presents an image problem, say experts like Judy Belk, a senior vice president for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

"African Americans have been very uncomfortable with the title of philanthropist," Belk said. "If you don't see role models who look like you when people start talking about issues related to philanthropy, you start believing, 'Hey, maybe I'm not a philanthropist.'"

Belk said she got so weary of hearing this that she helped produce a 12-minute video released in November, dubbed, "I Am A Philanthropist," which features diverse faces, races and ethnicities of donors and grant-makers. .  .

The report cites black churches as a historically important repository of giving, but notes that other important causes are coming to the fore.

While religious giving was the largest charitable category overall, it leveled off in dollar terms in 2010, according to Giving USA, a Chicago-area foundation that publishes philanthropy data and trends. At the same time, contributions for the arts increased almost 6 percent, a trend that was consistent across all racial groups. 

Read more at Reuters.

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