Blacks are more generous than whites when it comes to charitable giving, largely because they are more faithful in supporting their church, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Nine out of every $10 donated by blacks goes to a church or other religious organization, according to a report released earlier this month. By comparison, whites give about 75 percent of their charitable gifts to religious organizations.
Shirley Kaigler of Detroit said she was taught as a child that when she had a dime, a nickel of it went to her church, which was active in helping the poor. “I believe that as you’re moving forward, you have to have your hand reaching back to help someone else,” she told the Chronicle.
Overall, middle- and upper-class blacks give 25 percent more of their discretionary income than whites to charity, the study found.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, blacks with an annual income of $30,000 to $49,999 gave an average of $528, while whites in the same income bracket gave $462.
Blacks earning $50,000 or more annually gave $1,204 to charity. Whites in the same income bracket gave $1,072.
In examining the giving habits of America’s 50 largest cities, the Chronicle found that counties and cities with above-average numbers of affluent blacks tend to be more charitable than other metropolitan areas.
Detroit, where four out of five middle-income and upper-income residents are black, ranks No. 1 in percentage of income going to charitable causes. On average, Detroit residents in this income range give 12.5 percent of their annual income to charities.
Four of the nation’s six most-generous large counties—Prince George’s, Md., Bronx, N.Y., Kings, N.Y., and Queens, N.Y.—all have large black populations.
One analyst said non-profit groups that work with urban poor shouldn’t overlook their own neighborhoods when it comes to raising funds. “You don’t have to go to the suburbs looking for donors,” said Rob Parker of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Don’t overlook the very generous folks right around you.”
Another expert, however, said fund raisers shouldn’t look on blacks as a new market, even though the income of blacks has risen more than 20 percent since 1993.
“There’s a preacher who says that as soon as black folks get two nickels to rub together, white folks want one,” said Alice Green Burnette, a fund-raising consultant in Florida. “I worry that people in fund raising will see those figures on black giving and start going after black wealth. Blacks don’t necessarily have more wealth, just more income.”
Jodi Mathews is news writer for EthicsDaily.com.