The spirit of giving is alive and well in the black community, this even despite the racial wealth gap which has been well documented.
The racial wealth gap has caused many to be concerned about its effects on charitable giving by people across income categories, racial or ethnic identities, and age groups. Will these groups be able to meaningfully contribute their income and wealth to support social causes?
If one looks at the latest available data on wealth and charitable giving it is clear to see that black families prioritize philanthropy. Black families have long been hindered by cultural barriers and practices that have had a history of blocking asset building and wealth creation. But the data reveals that despite all this, of all racial or ethnic groups, black families have consistently contributed the largest proportion of their wealth including savings, used cars, land, and investment accounts to philanthropic causes.
There may be many reasons as to why black families are more charitable than their white counterparts. Family traditions around giving are more likely found in black families. Black families have reported that they feel more fulfillment from their charitable giving.
But this isn’t a new phenomenon, black communities have robust networks and organizations that support charitable giving and have some of the oldest and most deeply entrenched philanthropic organizations which are created, led, and supported by community members.
These well known and recognized organizations allow for collective giving, simplify the giving process. This organized support around giving may create certain norms and standards for how families give.
Although this data may indicate that black families contribute more to charity than other racial or ethnic groups, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other groups are less generous. The historical data indicates that it may be more a matter of a culture of giving within the black community that makes black families readier to contribute to philanthropic causes.