In honor of Black History Month, we are shinning a light on black history. Our goal is to promote understanding of those around us to grow stronger as a community. Despite the systematic exclusion the black community has experienced, the community consistently embodies a culture of generosity. Take a look at these 5 facts about black philanthropy.

1. Black Philanthropy Has Existed For Centuries.

The tradition of giving was apart of West African cultures before colonialism. When they traveled across the Atlantic as part of the slave trade, they were transplanted into Southern plantations. As some of their families were transported to other plantations, never to be seen again, they looked after each other to survive. They created a tradition of neighbors in need getting help from neighbors in need. This strong heritage and culture of generosity dates back to mutual aid societies, and was marked as the start of black philanthropy.

2. People of Color Donate More of Their Wealth to Charity.

A study done by the Urban Institute found that “all racial or ethnic groups in the dataset, Black families have contributed the largest proportion of their wealth — which can include savings, used cars, land, and investment accounts — to charity since 2010.” Although 28% of black donors report household incomes below $50,000 a year, they are donating a higher proportion of their income than any other racial group.

3. Giving Priorities Remain Consistent for Black Philanthropists.

A study done by Blackbaud Institute found that religion, local social service organizations (e.g. shelters, food banks), children’s charities, and health charities are the black community’s main giving priorities.

4. A Racial Funding Gap Exists.

The funding gap between black-led organizations and white-led organizations is clear and systematic in nature. According to a Bridgespan analysis, the unrestricted net assets of black-led organizations are 76% smaller than their white-led counterparts, and their average percentage of revenue was less than half. The inequality in unrestricted assets is alarming as funding often coincides with trust.

5. More Americans are Donating to Racial or Social Justice Issues.

According to a study done by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, a higher percentage of Americans are donating to racial or social justice issues since 2019. In 2020, “16% of Americans” donated to causes related to these issues.

Long-Term Giving Plans

How can you support in our local community? Community engagement allows each and everyone the ability to have involvement in social equality. Although you may not be personally affected by these issues, you live in a world of collaboration and care with those who are. You have the power to help those within your community.

Black-led organizations are working to make a meaningful difference. An endowment is not just a gift of money; it’s also a transfer of power. Endowments strongly influence the expansion of philanthropic support that a small nonprofit can absorb in the future. Endowments allow for an organization to obtain money that can used to make a difference and it sets up the organization for long-run success.

If you’re able to give regularly and are called to a passion in this field (or others), you may be interested in hearing about the advantages of a donor advised fund.

When you establish a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) at the Winona Community Foundation, you make an irrevocable gift to the Foundation and receive an immediate tax deduction for the gift. In exchange, you retain the right to name the fund, recommend grants from the fund, and to name successor advisors. Your fund’s assets are co-mingled and invested with those of the Foundation where it benefits. Your DAF can be endowed or spendable. Although many people will establish a DAF during their lifetime, many will do so through a gift in their will or estate.

The Winona Community Foundation offers a range of charitable options and funds for individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits to accomplish their philanthropic goals. As your trusted partner, resource, and steward for community philanthropy, the Winona Community Foundation is committed to helping every individual give back in a way that is both meaningful to them and to the causes they care about.

Zoe Kwitek

Marketing and Community Relations Specialist at the Winona Community Foundation.