Black and Asian American Households Most Likely To Donate to Causes Promoting Racial and Social Justice Reform

Many large businesses and corporations have been eager to support and donate to racial and social justice causes over the past year. According to a recently published study on public funding spurred by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others, average American households have also provided millions of dollars of support to these groups — and many of the donors are overwhelmingly people of color.

Haleluya Hadero of the Associated Press has reported that “donations to racial and social justice causes ticked up to 16% of American households in 2020, as donors raced to provide support to affected communities in a year marked by protests and increased attention on racism in America.”

In a study conducted at Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy, researchers found that charitable giving increased among all races over the summer of 2020 and beyond. However, the study revealed that Asian American and Black households were significantly more likely to donate to racial and social justice causes than similar white households.

“Nearly a third of Asian American households and 19% of Black households donated to those causes,” Hadero reported from the study. “[An additional] 14% of Hispanic households and 13% of white households made similar donations.”

Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly School and one of the researchers from the study, said in a statement that attention on charitable donations is, thus far, disproportionately focused on foundations on the corporate side.

“It’s also important to realize that everyday donors — households of all different backgrounds — have been part of this,” Osili said. “It’s a very diverse group of donors, and donors of color are certainly leading in giving to racial and social justice.” 

According to Hadero, “the [Lilly School] report offers the first major look into how everyday Americans opened their pocketbooks in reaction to last year’s summer protests and other events.” 

“Experts note many Asian Americans became more mobilized to donate amid fears about anti-Asian discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hadero reported. “The slayings of six women of Asian descent [in March 2021] also brought a new wave of donations amid widespread concerns about the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes across the U.S.”

In an interview with the AP, Patricia Eng, president of the advocacy organization Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, said, “it is a new moment in this country, and the world, around racial reckoning, and Asian Americans are actually a part of that.”

Among the other findings from the Lilly study: people who donate to racial and social justice groups tend to be young, single and less religious than people giving to other groups. They also tend to favor crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe when deciding where to make their donations.

Researchers say this is because many of the donations made to these crowdfunding platforms in the past 18 months had been — and continue to be — driven by social media, where voices pushing for social reform also tend to be the loudest and most heard.

“Last year, crowdfunding sites organized direct donations to the family members of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others,” Hadero said. “They also collected bail funds for protesters and supported civil rights organizations.”


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