By Grace Austin
New reports have shown that people of religious and ethnic diversity are more apt to give than their counterparts.
Research from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) shows a growing trend for communities of color to give at increasing rates and levels. African Americans give away 25 percent more of their income than whites. Sixty-three percent of Latinos make charitable donations.
The WKKF study showed new trends of “identity-based philanthropy,” where people are giving to groups and people similar in ethnicity, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
Although these are new trends in charity, philanthropic giving is not new to people of diverse background. African Americans have a long history of giving back to their own communities. Kinship and unity formed from slavery days and the civil rights movement created tight networks that gave back to their communities, according to James A. Joseph in Remaking America: How the Benevolent Traditions of Many Cultures are Transforming Life.
In minority cultures and often isolated immigrant communities, giving to one’s community was important. Latinos, with a strong emphasis on the family unit, also have long traditions of giving, mainly through the Catholic Church. Indeed, churches, in both African-American and Latino communities, have always been essential centers of giving and philanthropic aid.
Wealthier African Americans often give back to their own communities more so than their white counterparts. African Americans often give to education, youth projects, health-related causes, and civic engagement. Indeed, education is at the forefront of many wealthy African-American philanthropists. Oprah Winfrey, for example, has given hundreds of millions of dollars to her charities, which are mainly centered on educational causes.
Asian-American culture is impacted by ancient ideologies like Confucianism and Taoism which affect their modern patterns of giving. According to Stella Shao’s Cultures of Giving II: How Heritage, Gender, Wealth and Values Influence Philanthropy, mutual giving, roles of ceremony and tradition, and commitment to family are significant factors in Asian-American donations.
Although one’s ethnicity or religious background cannot predict how much one will give, studies have shown ethnic philanthropy is linked to kinship and family. In turn, religion plays an important role in ethnic philanthropy. While African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans may all give differently, they are all providing a necessary and beneficial donation and service to their community, supporting centuries-old traditions of giving among American minorities.